Florida lawmakers need to roll up a fat joint to celebrate 4/20 and chill out. While Republican legislators move full speed ahead to ban the sale of bongs and glass pipes, they ignore a measure to legalize medical marijuana. These guys must think we're still living in 1936, the year the anti-marijuana film Reefer Madness hit movie theaters across the country.
Florida is being left behind in the growing national movement to end pot prohibition. Since California became the first to legalize medical ganja in 1996, 19 other states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws making it OK for doctors to prescribe kind bud to patients with all kinds of debilitating ailments, from Lou Gehrig's disease to AIDS. A February poll by People Uanited for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM) revealed that seven of ten Floridians support medical marijuana.
In addition, 14 states have enacted laws that eliminate criminal penalties for people caught with small amounts of weed. Heck, it's now legal to use marijuana recreationally in Colorado and Washington state. There is even a bill in Congress that would end the federal government's prohibition of pot.
legalizing medical marijuana
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Yet with his anti-pot measures, Rep. Darryl Rouson, from bible-thumping St. Petersburg, wants Florida to continue screwing the populace. In 2010, he backed a bill that became law limiting bong and pipe sales to stores that did 75 percent of their sales from tobacco. Now he's championing a more hard-core ban. Under his harsh measure, stoners would have to travel outside Florida for bongs and glass pipes. Meanwhile, a bill that would allow patients to possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow as many as eight plants has not had a hearing in either the House or the Senate.
Rouson and his Tallahassee cronies, in addition to letting sick people continue spending thousands of dollars on prescription pills, are passing up an opportunity to generate millions of dollars in marijuana tax revenue. California's medical cannabis industry took in about $2 billion in 2008 and generated $100 million in state sales taxes. Imagine what it could do for our cash-strapped state, which is already home to the most illegal indoor grow houses in the nation.
If the politicians in Tallahassee really want to fight the War on Drugs, they should ban crack pipes. But then again, that's probably what they're smoking themselves.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.