Seminole State students debate medical marijuana

By: Melissa B. Merkler

With a small grant to fund civic dialogue on campus at Seminole State College of FloridaDr. Jan Lloyd-Lesley, Associate Vice President, Student Development opened the first of three forums with an interactive live poll that students attending the discussion could text a “yes, no, or unsure” to support legalizing medical marijuana in Florida.

“I’m unsure,” Seminole State student Stephen Clercent, Jr., said about the amendment.

“Because of the pros and cons and loopholes…people take advantage,” he said.

Stephen Clercent, Jr. said he is unsure on the amendment. "If 'no' then people still go to jail for abuse."

Stephen Clercent, Jr. said he is unsure on the amendment. “If ‘no’ then people still go to jail for abuse.”

The first 30 students who arrived to the civic dialogue received lunch and a free Seminole State Way cinch bag. The sound of potato chip bags crinkling and student chatter could be heard over the video debate playing on the screen between Attorney John Morgan and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2, has ruffled feathers on both sides of the amendment.

“It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Sheriff Judd said. He is worried about “loopholes” and “pot docs,” according to the video debate.

Morgan said the two men are friends but they don’t see eye-to-eye on the medical marijuana amendment.

“The people of Florida are smart. The people of Florida are compassionate about debilitating illnesses and injuries,” Morgan said.

One of the highlighting confusions regarding the amendment is whether patients will smoke the drug or take it in other forms.

While Morgan is for the proposed bill, his friend Sheriff Judd remains unchanged in his views and said during the debate: “’Go home and smoke it it till you feel better.’ When is the last time a doctor said that?”

Students chimed in after the video and stressed concerns about how the bill might change future employment and business guidelines for employees who use medical marijuana.

One Seminole State professor stopped by the civic dialogue and “spoke as a parent” about her personal experience dealing with a child who became addicted to illegal marijuana.

“My son went through detox that cost me $40,000,” Terri Walsh, Professor/Program Manager, Business Administration, said.

While she admits she and her husband could afford the detox, Walsh stressed her concern that the marijuana will be distributed through “e-cig” stores and not medical facilities.

Professor Moore, Associate Dean, Center for Business, Management & Entrepreneurship proposed the final question of the day by asking the students: “How should the College handle students who are taking medical marijuana?”

Some students in the room didn’t have an opinion, while others felt strongly about the topic and stressed students with debilitating illnesses should have the right to use medical marijuana and still attend class.


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