1. Florida Politics

Rubio supports medical marijuana — but only the noneuphoric kind

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said he supports only  noneuphoric strains of marijuana for pain relief.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said he supports only noneuphoric strains of marijuana for pain relief.
Published Jul. 31, 2014

WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio came out Wednesday in support of the use of medical marijuana, but only the noneuphoric type approved by the Florida Legislature.

"If there are medicinal uses of marijuana that don't have the elements that are mind-altering or create the high but do alleviate whatever condition it may be they are trying to alleviate, that is something I would be open to," the Florida Republican said.

His comments came in a wide-ranging interview with reporters in Washington. Rubio made clear he was limiting support to non­euphoric strains such as "Charlotte's Web."

Rubio called the broader medical marijuana ballot initiative before voters this November a "ruse" that could allow people with dubious medical needs to get access to the high-inducing form of the drug.

"It's the reality that there are states now that you go in and can have a doctor write you a prescription for something that you are really just using for purposes of acquiring legally a recreational drug," he said.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said in a recent interview that he supports the initiative and that there are controls in place. "I will vote for it," he said. "Just listen to the personal testimonies of people that nothing will help them as they are dying and marijuana gives them comfort and relieves the pain."

Florida's Amendment 2 would allow people with debilitating conditions to get a medical marijuana card. But that could come only after a doctor made a determination it was necessary and made a recommendation to the state.

In January, when first asked about the ballot initiative, Rubio said: "You hear compelling stories of people who say the use of medicinal marijuana provides relief for the thing they are suffering. So I'd like to learn more about that aspect of it, the science of it. I have qualms about that proposal, I really do, but I probably need to learn more about it. The broader issue of whether we should be legalizing it is something I'm pretty firm about. I don't think legalizing marijuana or even decriminalizing it is the right decision for our country."

A poll released this week showed 88 percent of Florida voters now would allow use of marijuana for medical purposes, up from 82 percent support that Quinnipiac University pollsters reported in November.