Published: Feb 27, 2013 10:55 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- State Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) introduced a bill Wednesday, that would allow Floridians with debilitating medical conditions to legally obtain and use marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

S.B. 1250, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, would allow patients with certain qualifying medical conditions, or their officially designated caregivers, to privately possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to eight marijuana plants. It would also require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities. The bill is named in recognition of Cathy Jordan, president of the Florida Cannabis Action Network, who uses marijuana in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." Police raided Jordan's home on Monday and seized her medical marijuana after a government employee visiting the home next door saw marijuana plants on her property.

“Scientific research consistently validates the medical benefits of marijuana in the treatment of a variety of debilitating medical conditions,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Seriously ill people who use marijuana to alleviate their pain and suffering should be allowed to access it safely and legally. They certainly should not be arrested and treated like criminals.”

The introduction of the bill comes just one day after the Miami Heraldannounced the results of a poll conducted January 30 to February 3 that found 70% of Florida voters, including 56% of Republicans, support such legislation. See http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/25/3253273/poll-7-in-10-back-fl-medical-marijuana.html

 

“An exceptionally strong majority of Florida voters want to see the state take a more sensible and compassionate approach to medical marijuana,” Tvert said. “We hope the state’s elected representatives will not deprive the citizens of a fair and objective hearing on this important legislation that could improve the lives of thousands of seriously ill Floridians and their families.”

 

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. Lawmakers in 14 other states, including Florida, have proposed similar legislation this year, and medical marijuana bills are expected to be brought forward in an additional four states.