Last week, Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard introduced SB 1176, a bill to legalize the recreational use, growth and sale of marijuana. Bullard’s law would permit citizens to have six plants in their home and possess and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. This bill comes on the heels of the medical marijuana amendment that was defeated a few months ago in the last statewide election, despite support from a majority of voters. Amendment 2’s successor, SB 528, which permits medicinal use of marijuana, is set to be debated by the senate in the near future. In past emails we have highlighted the benefits to both the criminal justice system and the state’s economy that other states have seen after permitting the medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana. While Bullard’s bill has no chance at being presented to committee, never mind being voted on and passed by the legislature, it is just another example of the changing of the tides in the marijuana debate.
This week, a Broward jury, tired of waiting for our draconian legislature to catch up with some of the other states in our country, acquitted a man of manufacture of marijuana charges; accepting his defense that he was growing the 46 plants found in his home to help him deal with an array of medical issues caused by anorexia. This was the first time that a criminal jury has found someone not guilty for such charges based on the defense that the marijuana was medically necessary. If the national trend highlighting the benefits of marijuana continues to gain traction, it is likely we will see more criminal cases result in similar verdicts, as juries will no longer see fit to punish someone for growing or using a natural product that has been accepted in states across the nation as being a cure or manner of reducing the symptoms of countless medical conditions.