JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –
Florida is one step away from legalizing medical marijuana. In November voters will decide if they should allow widespread sale and use of cannibis by saying “yay” or “nay” on The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, commonly known as Amendment 2.
Medical cannabis is already legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia and is hailed by some as a wonder drug, a cure to a wide range of ailments.
Among the proponants are the parents of 3-year-old Dahlia Barnhart, who was diagnosed last May with a very aggressive and rare form of brain cancer.
Her mother, Moriah Barnhart, said the chemotherapy wasn’t working well and Dahlia was on her death bed until she started medical marijuana treatment.
“This type of disease has such a low success rate with conventional treatments, I really felt I had no option but to utilize it, to see if it helped and to go from there. So I picked up and moved to Colorado,” said Barnhart.
Dahlia takes cannabis oil by mouth. It has low levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) to keep her from getting high off the drug. Mom says the tumor is shrinking.
Barnhart, who is now part of the advocacy group “Cannamoms,” knows there are critics but stands behind her decision to give her daughter cannabis.
“We have been brainwashed and I know speaking for myself I was one of those people before I was in the situation,” Barnhart said. “There is really nothing that can mean more than what I see with my own eyes. And her quality-of-life and the fact that she went from being on her deathbed to being a happy and playful, energetic toddler.”
Marijuana is hailed by many as a miracle medicine for the worst cancers and other debilitating diseases.
Cathy Jordan has smoked marijuana since 1989.
Jordan, whose voice is week and body is confined to an electric wheelchair, isn’t the person many would expect to be a marijuana user. But she says it’s the reason she’s alive today.
Jordan was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1986. Doctors said she had less than 5 years to live. But she found pot halted the debilitating disease’s progress.
“No doctor ever told me to stop. No one ever told me to stop,” said Jordan.
She’s lived with the illness for 28 years now, something that’s practically unheard of. It’s earned her the nickname “The Myth.”
Jordan told News4Jax that she believes it’s all thanks to cannabis, which is why she is now one of the biggest supporters of Amendment 2.
Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, said he has learned more about how and why marijuana had been illegal and developed a passion to tell the world about it.
“The truth about cannabis is, it is possibly the most valuable plant that there is on this planet,” DeAngelo said. “The medicine is incredibly efficacious and safe for a very wide range of medical conditions.”
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford stands with the Florida Sheriff’s Association against legalizing medical marijuana. He says the wording in the Amendment 2 ballot petition paves the way for widespread abuse.
“If you want to pass it for those debilitating medical conditions, no problem. But don’t tell people it is going to be for debilitating medical conditions and then they find out well actually you can use it for any medical condition. Anything: headaches, back aches, tennis elbow.,” Rutherford said.
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