Florida rep wants medical marijuana legislation passed before election

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

A local state representative has filed a bill to legalize medical marijuana before Florida residents have a chance to vote on the amendment in November.

On Monday, Rep. Joe Saunders of Orlando said announced legislation that would legalize pot for medical use.

"Everybody up here in the Legislature believes this amendment is going to pass," Saunders told WFTV.

He said polls consistently show the amendment could pass with 80 percent of the vote. That's why he's joining another lawmaker from south Florida and introducing a 170-page bill that would legalize medical marijuana and set up guidelines on how to regulate the use of cannabis as medicine.

"Who will have access to medical marijuana, how will we empower doctors, licensed physicians in the state to prescribe it? Where will it be grown? How much is ok to carry?" Saunders explained the issues adressed in his bill.

It also outlines licensing for farmers, distributors, dispenseries and patients. Some leaders in Cocoa Beach have already been looking at local ordinances to control where medical marijuana clinics could be built.

"If we don't do it this year then all of a sudden I think we're chasing the constitutional amendment," Saunders said.

He said his law would help Floridians with chronic health conditions, help to ensure public safety and save taxpayer dollars.