Law enforcement agencies in the state of Florida are lining up on both sides of the push to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes in the state. In January the state’s Sheriff’s Association signaled its opposition to legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use by passing a resolution indicating its position. However, in light of talks amid Florida legislature about allowing so-called low THC marijuana, which contains relatively low levels of the drug’s psychoactive ingredient, the Florida Sheriff’s Association and Police Chief’s Association both came out in favor of its passage.
The about face of the Sheriff’s Association on the issue seems to indicate that even long-standing law enforcement perspectives, such as the opposition to the legalization of marijuana, are more nuanced than previously believed.
For example, the sheriff of Alachua County, Sadie Darnell, indicated that the intoxicating property of the drug is the true problem, and that without such properties the whole thing “becomes a non-issue.” Still, Sheriff Darnell shows caution, saying “It needs to be regulated…We need to have the FDA approve it, test it.”
One of the primary reasons law enforcement officials have had a difficult time forming a consistent opinion regarding marijuana’s legal status is because as yet it has not received federal government approval for the treatment of any disease or physical symptom.
The drug remains classified as having less of a medicinal value than opiates, even dangerous opiates such as heroin. However, numerous anecdotal reports in the media have recently indicated that the drug is extremely effective for treating certain illnesses, such as those that cause seizures.
In fact, parents across the country who have children that suffer from seizures are taking their fight for access to the drug to state legislatures, with varying results.
Florida’s legislature recently approved a measure which will allow access to a low THC strain of marijuana, and sent the bill to the state’s governor for consideration.