BY BUDDY NEVINS
State Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, has turned defeat into victory.
Most lawmakers hide when their bill is killed.
Edwards was all over the television and print media this week talking about her bill to legalize medical marijuana, which was deep sixed by the Legislature.
Other legislators were frightened even to allow medical marijuana have a committee vote. Most Florida lawmakers are scared they will be labeled pro-drugs if they even talk about it.
Medical marijuana is an idea whose time has come, but not in Tallahassee.
Much of the Legislature seem deaf to the pleas of cancer patients and others with serious chronic conditions. These are people that want a natural, safe way to relieve pain. These are people who are looking for an alternative to drugs like oxycodone.
Deafness to the voters is nothing new in Tallahassee. The Florida Legislature has a history of being one step behind the rest of the state and the country.
Many of the most controversial measures were ducked by gutless lawmakers or killed by lobbyists. Then voters petitioned to put them on a ballot and passed them into law.
All these were passed in a statewide referendum and not by the Legislature: The state lottery (1986), the indoor smoking ban (2002), class size amendment (2002), term limits (1992), the minimum wage (2004), slot machine legalization in Dade and Broward (2004) and the Everglades trust fund (1996).
I wonder if Edwards would have supported these ideas against the Leadership — Democrat and Republican. I think she would have stood up for the people. Judging from her stance on medical marijuana, she is a different kind of legislator, willing to take on issues that are unpopular in Tallahassee.
“I think this really is a missed opportunity by our Legislature to address something that really needs to be talked about,” she said about medical marijuana.
She says she will be back with the bill next session. And the next session after that. And the next session after that.
Someday the Republican Leadership of the Legislature will listen to the rest of Florida and listen to Edwards on medical marijuana.