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Medical Marijuana Initiative

CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times

You've got questions, we've got answers

Floridians will vote Nov. 4 on a constitutional amendment that would legalize possession and sale of marijuana for medical purposes. Patients would need a doctor's certification that they have a debilitating illness or condition. Polls indicate broad support, but Amendment 2 must pass by 60 percent or more to succe …

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  1. MS patient talks about relief she finds with marijuana (w/video)

    Health

    SEMINOLE — Peggy Alcorn, a 68-year-old retiree, exercises every day in her swimming pool. • She hangs onto the edge for an hour — bouncing, swaying, kicking and singing to a mix of 1980s hits streaming from her computer. Every 15 minutes or so, she picks up a pipe and takes a few puffs of pot. • …

    Peggy Alcorn, 68, suffers from multiple sclerosis and smokes marijuana in her pool between songs as part of her daily dance workout. She says dancing in the pool for about an hour and smoking a small amount of pot is enough to make her able to move without pain for the day.
  2. Potential health risk of medical marijuana: It's complicated

    Elections

    Humans have cultivated marijuana for thousands of years — using fiber for cloth, oil for food, smoke for ceremonies and chemicals for medicine.

    Jim Buresch, 45, who is HIV positive, poses with a year’s worth of bottles (the darker ones on the left) that contained marijuana he bought from an unofficial, unlicensed dispensary when he lived in Seattle. The other bottles are a year’s worth of medication he takes for symptoms now.
  3. Why they smoke: Medical marijuana and Floridians who use it

    Elections

    Floridians will decide Nov. 4 whether to add medical marijuana to the state Constitution, testing if a cultural change fostered in the liberal West and Northeast can penetrate the South.

    Toby (right) waits while his owner Jim Buresch, 45, who is HIV positive, smokes marijuana to help with joint pain before taking their daily morning walk. Buresch says the drugs he takes to fight HIV disease made him vomit and eliminated any interest in eating. Pot minimized nausea, restored appetite, helped with joint discomfort and helped his frame of mind. "I wasn't as depressed. I wasn't as traumatized. I wasn't just sitting around waiting to die,'' he said.
JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times

  4. John Morgan, Grady Judd debate Florida's medical marijuana amendment

    State Roundup

    LAKELAND — Two of the loudest voices in the campaign over Amendment 2 went head-to-head during a debate in Lakeland on Thursday night.

    Orlando lawyer John Morgan, left, and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd are on opposite sides of the medical marijuana debate in Florida. [Times files]
  5. Medical cannabis concerns unfounded, Amendment 2 organizer says

    Health

    ST. PETERSBURG — An organizer of Florida's medical marijuana amendment beat back the latest round of opponents' attacks Thursday, contending that the proposal says more than enough to address concerns about legal implications.

  6. Study suggests medical marijuana reduces opiate overdoses

    Elections

    In a finding that could ripple through Florida, a study released this week reported that the average number of narcotic painkiller overdoses in medical marijuana states is 25 percent lower than would be expected if pot use weren't legal.

    A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests medical marijuana reduces opiate overdoses.
  7. Heavyweights on opposite sides of medical marijuana fight forge unlikely friendship

    Elections

    Trial lawyer John Morgan — whose outsized persona is already etched onto Florida's consciousness — said medical marijuana has boosted his celebrity even higher.

    FILE - In this April 5, 2013 file photo, Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies in Clark County district court, in Las Vegas. A jury on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 awarded Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen a $70 million judgment against Las Vegas Sands Corp. Suen claimed he was owed up to $328 million for helping the Las Vegas-based company secure a lucrative gambling license in Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)