The headline above would have met with political suicide just a few years ago, however in today's growing libertarian-minded world the situation is one of empathy and respecting one's individual rights. On Saturday, it was reported Republican Florida Senate president, Don Gaetz was quoted as saying, "The quality of his life was undermined by this intense nausea. Ron Mudd said to me, 'I understand that marijuana might help; can you get me some?' And I did, and it helped. Here was a man who was dear to me, who was suffering and asked me to help him. If I would do that and break the law, what would I do for my own child? How could I deny compassionate care to someone else's child?"
Gaetz is speaking of Ron Mudd, a Methodist chaplain who was in hospice care in the final weeks of his life dealing with cancer and were close friends. Gaetz helped his friend in need even though he knew his action was illegal because he knew it was the right thing to do. Libertarians feel the same way as one should not be forced to go to jail for simply growing or being in possession of a natural plant. Last year, Libertarian candidate for Florida Attorney General, Bill Wohlsifer, wrote the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act which has been reintroduced this year.
Republicans made a strategic mistake last year when they had the opportunity to get ahead on the issue of legalization, however they let Charlie Crist's boss, John Morgan, get the best of them by getting the issue on the ballot for Florida voters to decide in November. Had Republicans acted on their own principle of individual rights by passing Bill Wohlsifer's Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act last year, Rick Scott would not be in the vulnerable position he is in today.
Gaetz is supportive of his son's Florida House Bill 843 which if passed, would legalize the prescription for a version of cannabis which does not get the patient "high". Although not descriptive within the bill, Matt Gaetz's bill describes CBD which has proven to be very effective in treating forms of cancer and a wide range of diseases and ailments in humans. The bill would legalize cannabis plants with 0.5% or less of THC (the chemical within the plant which gets users 'high') and at least 15% of CBD (cannabidiol). This version is commonly referred to as Charlotte's Web. The bill is currently in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and there is a similar, though not identical, bill in the Florida Senate which was introduced by three Republicans. The senate bill is more comprehensive and gets into how the plant would be regulated in the state.
There are at least three other bills in the Florida legislature which deal with legalizing medical marijuana and Florida voters will be able to decide for themselves in November on a Florida constitutional amendment which is unofficially being called Amendment #2.
Republicans are sounding more like Charlie Crist with their change in heart on the issue once polling showed Floridians are anywhere from 75-82% in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. One would think since Republicans are supposedly supportive of individual freedom, smaller government, less regulation and free markets they would have been supportive of legalizing cannabis completely, even for recreational purposes. However things are not always what they seem as Republicans, as well as a healthy number of Democrats, have in the past done the opposite on the issue of legalizing marijuana. Once the polling came out supporting legalization of medical marijuana, then state politicians ran for political cover and for the first time Republican leadership is seriously considering, and seem likely to pass some form medical marijuana legalization bill this legislative session which begins early next month.
Unlike the Democrats or the Republicans, Libertarians have been consistently supportive of individual freedom, property rights, free markets and the complete legalization to grow, possess and use the cannabis plant. Libertarians would prefer zero regulation on the issue, however will likely support one measure of legalization so patients can get their medicine without having to fear going to jail.