Follow along as reporter John Kennedy tweets live as Florida justices hear medical marijuana argumentsby Palm Beach Post Staff | December 5th, 2013
A legal battle with broad social and political shadings goes before the Florida Supreme Court this morning as justices consider a measure asking voters to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for a range of illnesses.
Much of Florida’s Republican leadership is being joined by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the state’s medical association, and law enforcement organizations in fighting the proposed 2014 ballot measure.
On the opposite side, leading Democratic donor John Morgan, an Orlando trial lawyer close to former Gov. Charlie Crist, is bankrolling the campaign.
A former Democratic House Speaker, Jon Mills of Gainesville, will make the campaign’s case before justices on Thursday.
Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the use of marijuana for treatment of a variety of medical conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease and epilepsy.
Eleven of the states have enacted such laws through ballot measures, similar to that promoted in Florida by the organization, United for Care. The campaign has collected 131,655 valid signatures, but must get to a needed 683,149 by Feb. 1 to reach the November 2014 ballot.
A Quinnipiac University poll last month showed 82 percent of Floridians support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical use if prescribed by a doctor. Support is strong among Republicans, with 70 percent backing the idea, compared with 87 percent among Democrats.