Should Medical Marijuana Be Legal? Sarasota Experts Weigh In

Should medical marijuana be legal? John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan and other Sarasota experts weigh in. Plus, this month's Vintage Sarasota and more.

By Cooper Levey-Baker March 1, 2014

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Vintage Sarasota

Palmer Bank Despite the impending economic crisis, the Palmer Bank opened in 1929 with high hopes. While other banks were closing around the city, Palmer Bank, backed by prominent members of the Palmer family, expanded. It first occupied the vacant American National Bank building (which later came to be known as the Orange Blossom Hotel), but moved to Five Points as it continued to serve more citizens. It merged with several other banks but was later demolished and replaced by the Plaza at Five Points Bank.

High Time?

Florida is considering amending its constitution to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for certain medical conditions. Polls show broad support for the idea, but it remains controversial. Why not just fully legalize the drug? Will abuse increase? Could the measure increase turnout among young voters, giving an edge to Democratic candidates? Read on.

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"Statistics indicate that if the initiative passes, marijuana use [will] go up. [More people in] Colorado test positive for marijuana in ER visits. Attorney General Bondi said this is one of the most liberal, loosely written ballots. We do not support it."—Rob Tabor, Coastal Behavioral Healthcare supervisor



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"My brother is quadriplegic, and he has incredible pain. The pills they wanted him to take [are] enough to put a racehorse down. Marijuana cigarette takes the lightning bolts away. It's personal to me because I've seen it."—John Morgan, Morgan & Morgan founder, People United for Medical Marijuana chairman



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"Law enforcement is not going to be very accepting of this law, and I'm sure there's going to be some kind of sting operation to capture marijuana buyers. Once they realize it's not the great evil that people say it is, it will level off."—Mark Adams, Sarasota County assistant public defender



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"[Will it] increase turnout among college students? Any time there's a marijuana issue on the ballot, it does pique the interest of young people. But how many students at New College can vote? It's not going to change the [local] dynamic."—Rita Ferrandino, Sarasota County Democratic Party chairwoman



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"The poll numbers have been consistent, between the high 60s and the low 80s. If someone's really sick and their doctor says they should use marijuana, the vast majority of Floridians say, 'OK.'" —Ben Pollara, United for Care campaign manager



Just Sayin'

"We scrub the budget, and we go into the line items and ask a lot of questions, and we have concluded that the district is very responsible and a very good steward of these referendum monies." —Dan DeLeo, Sarasota County Schools financial advisory committee chair, about the March 25 referendum on extending a one-mill tax for county schools

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This article appears in the March 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Like what you read? Click here to subscribe. >>