United for Care gets the message about medical marijuana out in St. Pete

click to enlarge Sarah Andrews, deputy regional field officer at United For Care and Carl Sandstrom, vice-deputy regional field officer, promoting Amendment 2. - Daina Stanley
Daina Stanley
Sarah Andrews, deputy regional field officer at United For Care and Carl Sandstrom, vice-deputy regional field officer, promoting Amendment 2.

Around two dozen citizens came to hear representatives from organizations raise awareness about medicinal cannabis at Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar in St. Petersburg last week.

The educational meeting consistent of a diverse age group was hosted by Libertarian party congressional candidate Lucas Overby Thursday night. A 60 percent vote is needed to get the Medical Marijuana Act passed, which would legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state of Florida.

Representatives from United For Care, the American Cannabis Exchange, and the Libertarian party shared their support for Amendment 2 that will be voted on by Florida residents on the 2014 ballot. Whether personal, political, or economic, each group is intent upon getting as many voters to the booths in November as possible. 

Karena Morrison, Chair of the Libertarian Party in Pinellas County said, "We've seen demographics and large impacts in the senior citizen community. Many of who are diagnosed with glaucoma and other debilitating issues. The younger community has different values and different views. Our goal is to educate these voters on the health issues in pharmaceuticals in order to get all voters."

The United For Care Fund is the organization that worked to get over 1.1 million people in Florida  to sign the petition responsible for getting Amendment 2 on the ballot. They're on a campaign across the state of Florida at events such as these that will help inform as many citizens as possible. 

"Public awareness, that's what we're striving for here," said Sarah Andrews, deputy regional field officer for United for Care. "We just want people to know the facts and understand the movement. We're really trying to get out the vote," she said.

Carl Sandstrom, vice deputy regional field officer for the group added, "Basically, we just want people to make the connection that in a lot of cases you have opiate as the go to medication for a lot of these conditions. Medical marijuana is much safer when it comes down to it. When you look at all of your side effects that come with marijuana—you get hungry and you go to sleep if you get a little too much and that's it."

The fight to get the Medical Marijuana Act passed is personal for Nicole Morris, whose daughter was diagnosed  with encephalitis at the age of three. She shared Lola's story, the reason she is in favor of the Medical Marijuana Act being passed.   

"For you to rob children from a proactive life is insane. It's murder for money."

Though Morris does not associate herself with a political party, she is relieved to find a community where her story is accepted.

"I haven't really met too many people who have been through the same thing. So its nice to come to these kinds of events where people are aware. They don't look at it and say oh you wanna give your child CBD. Well, I'd rather give my child CBD then other life threatening medications," she said to the audience on Thursday. (CBD, or Cannibidiol, is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana that possesses a wide range of therapeutic benefits).

Gilbert Beovides is the co-creator of the American Cannabis Exchange, an innovative platform that applies Wall Street concepts to the business of marijuana "What we have done is create a platform that allows growers, whole sellers, dispensers, and distributors transparency and a more competitive market with a click of one button," Beovides said to the audience. The technology that is being introduced to Colorado businesses is in trial mode at the moment and would be applied to the state of Florida if citizens vote in favor of Amendment 2.

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