Medical marijuana debated in Polk forum - WFLA News Channel 8

Medical marijuana debated in Polk forum

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Polk Sheriff Grady Judd uses a poster to emphasize a point Polk Sheriff Grady Judd uses a poster to emphasize a point
WINTER HAVEN, FL (WFLA) -

There are new sparks over the issue of legalizing medical marijuana.

Florida voters will get to decide on November 4th. Until then, expect passionate debates from either side.

At a forum Tuesday night at the Polk State College in Winter Haven, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the amendment could lead to abuse of the system.

"Ladies and gentlemen, as this constitutional amendment is written, it is, without a doubt the wolf in sheep's clothing. And it's designed specifically to pull on our heartstrings," said Sheriff Judd.

The Sheriff says teens will be able to by pot without a parent's consent. He says people with almost any condition, not just those with a disabling ailment, could get the drug. He showed a board, claiming that 50 pot dispensaries could pop up in Polk County.

On the other side, Kim Sobecki, the mother of an adult with severe epilepsy, says traditional medicines don't work for her son, and have side effects.

“We need something that's safer and we firmly believe that cannabis is a way safer way to go for my son,” said Sobecki. “And if it gives him a new quality of life, it's way worth the risk of trying it because everything else that we've been given has not worked.”

Sheriff Judd says he's not opposed to those who truly need medical marijuana, but in his opinion, the amendment is not the way to go.

“This amendment is written so that it doesn't just have a loophole in the amendment, it has a loophole large enough to sail a battleship through," he said.

Supporters of the amendment argue pot can be safe and effective for many.

"When we talk about improving the quality of life for patients, we're talking sometimes about patients for whom nothing else work," said Jodi James with the Florida Cannabis Action Network.

Sheriff Judd warns enforcing the law could be a bureaucratic disaster. Supporters say Floridians deserve access to a drug, that for many, should be an option.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.




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