Emotions run high at UT medical marijuana debate

TAMPA, Fla. -- Where there's smoke, there's fire, and on Monday night, things got hot.

There was screaming, yelling and even people dragged out during a debate on medical marijuana at the University of Tampa.

Arguing in favor of medical marijuana were Alan St. Pierre of NORML and Attorney John Morgan who has championed the issue.

"Medical marijuana works, and we know it works, and it is going to become a reality this year," said Morgan.

Arguing against it were Kevin Sabet, the director of the Drug Policy Institute, and Dr. Eric Voth of the Institute on Drug Policy.

"The FDA has a precise formula for legalizing drugs which is safe, structured, and scientific. This amendment circumvents that by a simple vote," said Voth.

Both sides traded barbs over what each called the real motive.

"This is not about medicine; this is about legalization," said Voth.

"This is not about politics. This is about your neighbor. Medical marijuana works, and it helps people with debilitating illnesses like Lou Gehrig's disease, cancer and AIDS," said Morgan.

At times, the crowd of roughly 500 was brought to their feet. Some were encouraged, others disgusted by the possibility of medical marijuana's legalization- a possibility if voters approve the amendment on the November ballot.

The debate assessment from students ran the gamut.


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