Eighteen states and D.C. have passed medical marijuana legislation but in Florida, the "Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act" can't even get a hearing in the state Senate or House.
The bill has stalled in Tallahassee despite the fact that seven out of 10 Floridians support legalizing medical marijuana. Meanwhile a bill banning bongs was unanimously approved by a Senate committee.
"Shame on us as a Legislature for not taking the opportunity to hear this bill this year," House bill sponsor Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Plantation) said at a press conference on Monday.
Edwards introduced the bill after getting sick herself last year and speaking with cancer patients about how marijuana alleviated their suffering.
"I thought, 'these are real people,'" Edwards told ABC Action News, "and I cannot turn a blind eye and stick my head in the sand and pretend like it’s not happening, because it is."
The bill is named for Cathy Jordan who has been suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease since 1986.
In February, the Manatee County Sheriff's Department staged an armed raid on the Jordans' home, seizing 23 marijuana plants, including two mature plants Cathy was using to treat her symptoms.
Opponents like Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City) think Cathy and other Floridians needing marijuana for medical reasons should move to a state where it’s legal, reports the News Herald.
Meanwhile an Orlando-based Democratic fundraiser John Morgan is focusing on collecting the 700,000 signatures required to get a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the ballot in November 2014.
"If voters mandate this upon us, we're going to be reactionary," Edwards said of the potential amendment. "I'd rather take a proactive role. We could have a regulatory framework in place."
Edwards told the News Herald that she plans to file a compromised version of the same bill next year, limiting medical cannabis use to oil, pill, or topical form to further distance it from recreational use.
And while state legislators won't even have a debate on medical marijuana, a Senate Criminal Justice commitee recently unanimously passed a bill banning the sale of drug paraphernalia like bongs and pipes in Florida.
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Legalize Medical Marijuana
<a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/1250">This bill authorizes a qualifying patient</a> to possess and administer medical cannabis, and possess and use paraphernalia.
Texting While Driving Ban
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LGBT (Finally) Get Civil Rights
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Repeals the Death Penalty
The <a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/1022">bill repeals the death penalty</a> for capital felonies. Florida reportedly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/florida-death-row-leads-nation_n_2367795.html">sends the most inmates to death row</a>.
HPV Vaccination Information To Parents
<a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/0146">This bill</a>, requiring that Human Papillomavirus Vaccination information be provided to parents of 6th grade students, returns to the legislation after dying in a budget hearing last year. It's a compromise from the original draft, in which bill sponsor Altman <a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/1116/BillText/Filed/HTML">wanted the HPV vaccine to be added to the list of recommended vaccines for school-aged children in Florida</a>. <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm#a5">The Center for Disease Control recommends 11 and 12-year-olds get the vaccine</a>, citing that HPV can led to cervical cancer amongst other diseases.
Ban All Abortions With No Exception For Rape Or Incest
<a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/1056">The bill, named the Florida For Life Act,</a> would make all abortions illegal and offer no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking and would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s current abortion coverage for women who are a victim of rape or incest. <a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/1374">The same bill was filed last year</a> but died in Health Regulation.
Plastic Bag Ban
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No Smoking In Public Parks, Beaches
<a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/0258">This bill bans smoking in outdoor spaces</a> by empowering local cities and counties to pass stricter smoking laws than the state. The state's Indoor Clean Air Act currently bans smoking inside public buildings and workplaces, except inside bars and tobacconists. Two years ago, the Florida legislature passed a bill allowing school districts to pass stricter smoking bans than the state. The new measure, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, (R-Fleming Island), allows local governments to extend smoke-free zones from public buildings up to 75 feet outside.
Massage Parlor Curfew
<a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/0500">This bill places a curfew</a> on Florida massage parlors in the hopes of curtailing the state's sex trafficking trade.
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Observe Daylight Savings Year-Round
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Assault Weapon Ban
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Ban On Sales Of Drug Paraphernalia
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Gun/Ammo Tax To Pay For School Security
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