Local attorney pushes to legalize marijuana

By Juan Carlos Fanjul – bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)- As a parent of a 16-year-old, Debbie Stock is certainly not alone trying to keep her teenager from getting high from marijuana.

“I’ve actually caught her smoking pot and broken her little pipe,” she said.

But a national push to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, she believes, could help. “If they did legalize it, I think, it would be less trouble for teenagers.”

Proponents say making the drug commercially available at licensed stores and pharmacies would make it harder for youngsters to obtain it and keep them away from dangerous drug dealers.

While not wanting to legalize marijuana seems to be a common sentiment, the push to legalize is gaining national momentum following recent polls like an ABC/Washington Post poll that shows 80 percent of Americans favor medical use of marijuana.

The American Medical Association also recommends that the federal government reclassify pot as a drug with possible medical benefit.

South Florida attorney Michael Minardi is working to legalize marijuana. “People are uninformed, that it [marijuana] can, in fact, help.”

With clients in Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties that Minardi claims have benefited from medicinal marijuana, he is circulating a petition for the issue to be included in the 2012 ballot.

Proponents say they have a petition with about 40,000 signatures to get a medical marijuana measure on the 2012 ballot. But, they say, they need about 200,00 more signatures.

“Cannabis is the only known medicine that has little side effects and can alleviate pain with-out fatality,” added Minardi.

Opponents of the legalization of marijuana say these are just some of the effects after someone has smoked marijuana: loss of restlessness, excitement, hallucinations, psychotic episodes and impaired coordination.

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