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Medical marijuana proposal headed for Florida ballot following court ruling

As the public debate over marijuana legislations continues to sizzle, a state supreme court decision now confirms that the issue will go to Florida voters in November 2014. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 vote that in the ballot measure, "Voters are given fair notice as to the chief purpose and scope of the proposed amendment, which is to allow a restricted use of marijuana for certain ‘debilitating’ medical conditions." This law would not allow for recreational marijuana use, and medical use would have to follow guidelines that restrict prescriptions to certain conditions where cannabis would be able to provide relief for greatly debilitating symptoms.

Recent polls have shown strong support for this proposed amendment, which would make Florida the first Southern state to loosen laws that make possession and distribution of marijuana illegal. In recent years public support for ending marijuana prohibition has grown significantly. This appears due largely to the spread of information about the medicinal uses of cannabis for relieving conditions such as pain, nausea, and inflammation, and curing a variety of cancers. The cannabis plant has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine and has numerous medicinal compounds that have been studied by scientists.

Hemp and cannabis oils were once widely sold in America prior to the introduction of prohibition laws in the 20th Century. Those laws were introduced as a result of efforts by major chemical companies such as DuPont to destroy the hemp industry and make way for petrochemical products. Hemp is a plant that grows quickly and has numerous industrial uses, making it an exceptional renewable resource. The Cannabis plants contain parts that lack THC, in addition to the flowering part of the plant in which the psychoactive THC compound is located. Hemp plants cultivated for industrial use are a variety of Cannabis that has very low THC levels, unlike the varieties that are grown to produce the material used by those seeking to get intoxicated with THC. Since hemp plants used for industrial hemp do not result in exposing people to any hazardous psychoactive effect, the fact that all hemp growing in the USA was outlawed indicates that the motive was not merely to protect people from the dangers of a psychoactive drug.

Marijuana use has been widespread despite it's criminalization, and the ill effects of this use have been limited in comparison to other drugs, including both recreational and prescription drugs. Both alcohol and tobacco have been associated with far more harm to public health, and even prescription drugs with psychoactive effects have been shown to produce more serious side effects and harm than marijuana.

These striking facts have been highlighted in online educational websites and documentary films that examine the reasons behind hemp and marijuana prohibition and the healing properties that are present in the plants. The documentaries Run From The Cure and What If Cannabis Cured Cancer? have brought this topic into the minds of millions around the world. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are now recognized as a healthy source of essential fatty acids and other nutrients and are found in any health food store. Cannabidiol and other immune modulating compounds in cannabis plants are recognized by medical researchers as valuable anti-cancer compounds. There are also efforts to cultivate low-THC varieties of cannabis such as "Charlotte's Web" that would allow users to receive the benefits of compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD) in high concentrations without exposure to intoxicating amounts of THC.

The presence of an amendment in favor of medical marijuana on the ballot in November is likely to attract increased participation in the electoral process and to bring the evidence of the medicinal properties of cannabis to an even larger percentage of the population.