Florida medical marijuana bill (HB 1139) has 'slim to none' chance in current session, says sponsor

A bill (HB 1139) that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes said Monday that it has almost no chance of passing, but said backers will likely push a constitutional amendment that would put the question up to voters.

Rep. Katie Edwards put the measure's chances of getting through the Legislature at "slim to none."

She said she didn't support the idea at one time, but then she met patients with debilitating pain.

"If you had asked me about six months ago when we were campaigning, if I would have filed this bill, I would have said, 'Absolutely not,' " said Edwards, D-Plantation. "Then I got sick myself and in the hospital (began) talking with ... cancer patients and people who themselves were very sick." 

Joining Edwards at a news conference on the issue Monday at the Capitol was Cathy Jordan, who has Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The Manatee County woman, for whom the bill is named, believes using marijuana has kept her alive.

Jordan has been an activist for legalization of marijuana for medical use.

In February, her home was raided by police, who confiscated 23 marijuana plants, though Jordan and her husband weren't arrested.

Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use for certain people, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.