Push Underway to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Florida

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Add Florida to the list of Southern states that could see some type of medical marijuana initiative next year.

Democratic Rep. Jeff Clemens filed a resolution that would let voters decide whether medical pot should be legal via an amendment to the state’s Constitution. Some lawmakers in the nearby Southern states of Alabama and North Carolina are pushing similar measures, brining a hotly contested issue to one of the most conservative regions of the country.

Under Clemens’ plan, only patients with certain debilitating conditions could receive medical marijuana cards, and there would be strict limits on how much each individual could buy, based on their needs. The resolution also would pave the way for the creation of a distribution infrastructure, though details would be determined later.

The measure faces some stiff hurdles, as three-fifths of the Florida Senate and House – both of which are controlled by Republicans – must back the initiative to get it on the 2012 ballot. Republicans are typically against medical marijuana, so the resistance likely will be strong. The federal government’s crackdown on medical marijuana in other states likely won’t help either.

Still, the Florida measure shows that lawmakers are continuing to push MMJ legalization despite the recent blowback nationally.