Another Reminder of Why Changes in Medical Marijuana Policy Can’t Wait

 

Earlier this week, while more than 200 citizen lobbyists were meeting face-to-face with their Congressional legislators in Washington, D.C. to change federal policy on medical cannabis, a series of events occurred in Florida, making that state the next political battleground on this issue.

On Monday, a Miami Herald article cited a recent poll indicating 81 percent of Florida voters said approve of doctors recommending cannabis to patients, with only 14 percent opposed. As many as 70 percent of voters said they supported a state constitutional amendment legalizing medical cannabis, a full 10 points higher than what Florida requires to pass such amendments.

Then, tragically, later that afternoon, the home of Americans for Safe Access member and Sarasota resident Cathy Jordan and her 64-year-old husband Robert was raided by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department. With black ski masks and guns drawn in an intimidating fashion that has become all-too familiar for medical cannabis patients across the country, sheriff’s deputies came into their home and seized all 23 of Cathy’s plants, which she uses to treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”), a terminal illness.

Cathy was diagnosed in 1986 with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to loss of limb control, breathing, swallowing, and speech. However, after trying cannabis in 1989, she was able to better manage her symptoms and significantly improve her quality of life. Now, more than 20 years later, Cathy has outlived five of her support groups and four of her neurologists.

 

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