The Umansky Law Firm discusses Medical Marijuana Making its way into Serious Debate in Florida

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Orlando Law Firm and Florida news organizations weigh in on the state and federal level implications medical marijuana has if legalized.

The Umansky Law Firm

The Umansky Law Firm

...there will inevitable be a change in presidential administrations which could lead to a change in policy toward enforcing federal marijuana laws in states with legalized medicinal marijuana.

The issue of medical marijuana is slowly inching into the Florida Supreme Court, so the voters of Florida can decide whether to admit the use of medical marijuana into the state or not. By all appearances, the vote will appear on the docket November, 2014, according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University on November 21st, 2013. 

Many citizens of Florida are passionate about the future of this law, whether they are for or against it. John Morgan, of Morgan and Morgan Law Firm, is a corporate leader with the People United for Medical Marijuana, and the group is taking over 700,000 signatures to Tallahassee.

The Florida Supreme Court is beginning to sort through the conflicting arguments that will be aired during the hearing on December 5, 2013. This hearing will entertain both sides and determine whether the vote will be on the docket. The Justices overseeing this case cannot allow their moral beliefs to interfere, but rather they provide legislature in setting the statute straight and ensuring the wording is understandable.

The use of medical marijuana for specific conditions is a state law, which has presently been accepted by 20 states in the U.S. They include Michigan, Montana, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Washington, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington D.C. The use of marijuana is still illegal as a federal law.

The Florida Attorney General posed a point in his brief according to Tampa Tribune's article "Court Faces Sharp Divide on Medical Marijuana Issue" on November 15th, 2013, saying, "For decades, all marijuana use has been a federal criminal offense. If the proposal goes through as is, the amendment would literally cause Florida to be one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states in the country by allowing marijuana to be used immeasurably for conditions that are specified or left up to each individual physician. Even California, one of the most liberal states in the U.S., has specified less than 200 accepted diseases and conditions where medical marijuana may be prescribed. "

In central Florida, criminal arrests in relation to drugs has been above the national average and continuing to rise, according to statistics provided by justice.gov (PDF with statistics accessible on the right of the press release). The Umansky Law Firm is one of the criminal law firms located in the region that defends individuals for marijuana-related arrests, such as possession, trafficking, intent to sell, intent to distribute, and possession of paraphernalia.

Legalization of medical marijuana will change how the drug will be seen in the justice system on both a State and Federal level.

Michael Barber, attorney with central Florida law firm The Umansky Law Firm, said “it is important to remember that even if Florida legalizes medicinal use of marijuana, it will remain illegal under federal law. The current presidential administration has adopted a policy of not vigorously enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medicinal marijuana use. As President Obama’s eight year term limit is in 2016, there will inevitable be a change in presidential administrations which could lead to a change in policy toward enforcing federal marijuana laws in states with legalized medicinal marijuana.”

The wording on the proposal is posing a problem, and it is confusing, says Pam Bondi. She adds, "With no 'condition' off limits, physicians could authorize marijuana for anything, any time.” Those opposing the bill believe that it would open unrestricted authority for administering it and that would lead to uncontrolled use in the public.

Influential Republican groups, such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Medical Association are binding together to keep the entire issue off of the ballot.

Anyone using medical marijuana is required to have an ongoing relationship with their physician, a physical examination, written certification from their physician and must obtain an identification card from the Florida Department of Health before purchasing from "registered treatment facility."

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Sarah Zielke
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