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Medical Marijuana

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The victory for medical marijuana in California may result in more voter
initiatives around the country, even in Florida.

Does marijuana have a real medicinal value? It depends on who's giving the

Advocates of using marijuana to moderate the after-effects of chemotherapy,
among other strong medical treatments, are passionate in arguing that it
serves a real purpose. Opponents, including most of the law-enforcement
establishment, say it's worthless. They say the move to legalize "medical
marijuana" is just a back-door attempt to legalize marijuana generally.

Most people expected that the U.S. Supreme Court would come down on the
law-enforcement side when the subject arrived on its doorstep. The court had
plenty of partisan cover: Both the Clinton and second Bush administrations
agreed that doctors advising patients to use marijuana were subject to
investigation and punishment by federal regulators.

Surprise! This week, the Supreme Court, without comment, rejected an appeal
of a ruling by a federal appellate panel that declared that threatening
doctors with punishment violated their free speech and was in conflict with
"principles of federalism." The case originated in California where voters
approved an initiative in 1996 authorizing the use of marijuana for medical

Supporters of medical marijuana had expected an opposite result. An adverse
Supreme Court ruling, they said, would have stopped the movement in its
tracks. Now, other states are expected to go along with California, Oregon,
Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Maryland in
approving it under some circumstances. Most of those states also approved
the idea by voter referendum.

Is such a law feasible in Florida? Certainly not through the Legislature,
which has shown no sympathy for the idea. But advocates began a petition
campaign a couple of years ago, and they're likely to be encouraged by the
success of the California law.

It's a serious subject. If it's on the 2004 ballot, let's hope it's decided
after a serious debate.

Pubdate: Sat, 18 Oct 2003
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2003 The Gainesville Sun
Contact: voice@gvillesun.com
Website: : Local & World News, Sports & Entertainment in Gainesville, FL