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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pro-pot measure in Colorado could complicate Florida effort



photo_3.jpgDENVER -- Potent strains of marijuana are readily available at dispensaries here with names like Kind Love, the Green Room and CannaMart, but soon, a doctor's note may not needed to get inside.

Colorado is one of three states that will vote in November on measures to legalize the sale of pot for recreational use. Polling looks favorable in the libertarian-minded state, despite efforts by anti-drug crusaders such as St. Petersburg's Mel Sembler.

But passage could hurt efforts to bring medical marijuana to Florida.

Kim Russell of People United for Medical Marijuana, which is collecting signatures to put the issue before voters in 2014, said successes in Colorado, Washington or Oregon could hand opponents an argument that medical marijuana is only the first step in an inevitable march to full legalization.

On the other hand, "If it does pass, it’s just going to start the ball rolling and show to people that the American people do want this," Russell said. "It’s going to sweep the nation; it’s just a matter of time."

In Colorado, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's presence on the ballot is expected to help Amendment 64. Johnson is spreading the message in Florida, too. At rallies, his supporters hand out Johnson-emblazoned "Live Free" rolling papers.

Times photo: A medical marijuana dispensary in Denver.

[Last modified: Monday, October 15, 2012 5:31pm]


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