Marijuana still hot topic after Amendment 2 passes

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It's tough to watch, but Kenia Lerma wants you to see her 9-year-old son Ivan having a seizure.

"This isn't normal, this isn't fair, for a child to undergo all this," Lerma says.     

She showed FOX 13 the boxful of pills her son has to take. She says they do little good. 

"No child should be taking this many drugs when there's one plant that replaces all these drugs," she said.
Renee Petro is a founder of the Cannamoms,a local group that's been fighting for medical marijuana in Florida over the last three years. It's a fight they overwhelming won Tuesday night.

Her son Branden, who also suffers daily seizures, thanked voters on Facebook.

"To help another family and another child not go thru the pain and suffering like our children is going thru, is worth everything," Petro said. "I got tears in my eyes, I put up a post and thanked everyone for voting."

Medical Marijuana was approved by 71-percent of Florida voters, a clear reflection of changing attitudes towards pot. Nationwide, four other states - including California - approved legalizing recreational use, bringing the total to eight.

Some critics worry Florida may be next, saying Amendment 2 was a red-herring.

"You go to Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, California, they have legalized marijuana or working on legalize marijuana. Where did it start? Medical marijuana," asked Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who does not feel legalizing medical marijuana or decriminalizing small amounts of recreational marijuana is the way Florida should go.

As for decriminalizing small amounts, Tampa and Orlando have already done it, and Lakeland could be next. 

Lakeland officials could be re-thinking how people who get caught with with 20 grams of marijuana or less should - or should no - be punished. But at a meeting Wednesday night, they decided to table the issue for another time. 

"This a chance for Lakeland to be on the right side of history," marijuana advocate Michael Thompson told FOX 13.

Thompson is supporting a proposal that was discussed Wednesday night during a forum at the Lakeland Center. It would make possession of small amounts of pot a civil infraction. People would be given a citation, similar to a traffic ticket.

Right now, if you are arrested for the same thing, it's a criminal offense and you can go to jail. It appears that commissioners don't have enough votes for the measure to pass.

Those for and against lessening the penalties on those found to possess small amounts of marijuana showed up to have their voices heard. Leaders decided the issue is too hotly-contested at this time to move forward with anything concrete. 

For parents like Lerma, the politics of pot are for others to debate. She just hopes it makes her son's life a little bit better.

"My wish, honestly to have my child back. If I can't have him back completely, at least have some normalcy," she said.