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Email insights: As medical marijuana stalls in Tallahassee, Ben Pollara presses on

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

As Tallahassee lawmakers finish their third week of the 2015 legislative session, Ben Pollara finds little to cheer this week in Florida’s struggle to legalize medical marijuana.

“It ain’t looking good,” the United for Care leader says in a new email update.

“Despite the voices of 58 percent of Floridians and our efforts in the Legislature,” Pollara continues, “third week of the session just ended without a hearing in either house.”

Elected representatives do just that – represent the people of Florida. As Pollara points out, those legislators need to be reminded what the voters, at least a majority of them, asked for in November.

Time is running short for the legislative route.

“Folks, I want medical marijuana to be the law of the land in Florida as soon as possible — people are sick and suffering NOW and they can’t wait, Pollara writes. “But we may soon need to face the harsh reality that our only option is the 2016 ballot.”

With the 2015 session well underway, he wants to get a message through to the halls of the Capitol right away. Although there have been “good faith” lobbying efforts, Pollara says they have been met with indifference from legislators “more concerned with the size of beer than suffering Floridians desperate for relief.”

At this point, he adds, the only real way to do this is by petition. But the fight this session is far from over.

“There’s still more than half the session left to go,” Pollara concludes, “so I’m not throwing in the towel.

“We need to refocus our efforts on putting this issue back to a vote.”

Medical marijuana isn’t going away anytime soon, no matter how much lawmakers would like it to, particularly with devoted individuals such as Pollara on the case.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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