TALLAHASSEE, Florida — A self described stay-at-home mom from Orlando who wants better treatment options for her ailing father is launching a drive to put medical marijuana on the 2010 ballot.
Kim Russell, a third-generation Floridian and founder of People United for Medical Marijuana, (PUFMM,) said she is not a marijuana user and is not trying to get pot legalized in Florida. She just wants her 62-year-old father to get the most effective drug for his Parkinson’s disease.
“It breaks my heart that he could not get medicine that could help him avoid brain surgery,” she said.
Russell estimates that there are 1.7 million seriously ill Floridians who could benefit from the medical use of marijuana, everyone from breast cancer patients to people suffering from glaucoma and chronic pain.
Using that population base, an average $5,000-per-year prescription cost and an 8 percent sales tax, Russell estimates the industry could generate $200 million a year in direct revenue alone for Florida.
Russell said her group has set a “budget” of $1.5 million to get the initiative passed, but declined to say how much she has already raised. Collecting the more than 676,000 signatures necessary will be difficult, she acknowledged, but she is encouraged by recent news from the Obama Administration.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would no longer target medical-marijuana dispensaries in 13 states that have medical-marijuana laws, a departure from the Bush Administration, which contended that the states are violating federal statutes.
The proposed state constitutional amendment would permit, “the cultivation, purchase, possession and use of marijuana,” to treat a host of ailments, “or other diseases and conditions when recommended by a physician.”
Russell said the group may use paid petition gatherers.
“If we have to,” she said. “Right now, we’re using volunteers.”
If you would like to help Kim Russell gather signatures to get this on the 2010 ballot visit her official to get involved.
July 29th, 11:38 p.m., Gregory L Cecere – Charge(s): 827.071 Obscene Material-Possess-Poss Photograph Of Sexual Performance By Child.
MANATEE, Fla. — Authorities says a motorist using fake police lights to get through traffic was busted after an off-duty Manatee County deputy spotted the car and became suspicious.
Detective Jeff Lane reported that he was driving south on Interstate 75 on July 18 when he saw the lights behind him and pulled over. When he saw that the passing car was a black BMW with no police markings, Lane became suspicious and wrote down the license plate number.
The sheriff’s office reports that Lane connected the vehicle to 34-year-old Dennis Woodruff. The detective went to the Publix where the Sarasota man worked Tuesday, and authorities say Woodruff admitted using the lights.
Woodruff was arrested and charged with impersonating an officer. He was released Wednesday on $1,120 bail.
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ — Authorities say a 25-year-old former two-time “American Idol” contestant has been struck and killed by a car in a New Jersey shore town.
The Asbury Park Press reports that Alexis Cohen, of Allentown, Pa., was killed early Saturday in Seaside Heights.
Deputy Chief Michael Mohel of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office says an autopsy indicated she suffered chest, head and abdominal injuries. Mohel says investigators are seeking more information about the collision.
Cohen auditioned in Philadelphia for the popular Fox singing competition in August 2007, and the episode was aired in January 2008. She tried out again during the show’s eighth season.
A video of her angry rant after being rejected by judges went viral on the Internet.
LANTANA, FL–Ronald A. Wright of Boynton Beach has been arrested in connection with Thursday’s deadly hit-and-run accident on Lantana Road.
Charges include a deadly non-moving traffic violation with a suspended license and a fatal hit and run.
Wright is listed as a habitual offender. Previous arrests include several driving and drug-related charges.
Off-duty firemen, policemen and perfect strangers rushed to save a family from their burning car Sunday evening.
A woman from Tennessee lost control of her van and crashed into a tree near 22nd Place and Layton Avenue between 5 and 6 p.m.
Neighbors rushed to help — some broke windows, others grabbed garden hoses and one man kept his video camera rolling.
When Jerry Lepkowski saw the smoke and flames he grabbed his video camera and ran toward the action. He had no idea he was about to record an amazing and heroic rescue.
Neighbors and drivers were the first people on the scene. Almost immediately they pulled a little girl from the burning minivan, but that was just the beginning.
With the girl’s mother and brother trapped inside, two men banged at the van’s window with metal pipes until it broke apart, freeing the mother.
That’s when two off-duty firefighters showed up and with a child still inside they rushed into the burning car.
Despite the lack of protective clothes and the blistering heat, the men scrambled to free the child from a seatbelt.
As the fire grew, an off-duty Milwaukee Police lieutenant showed up with two fire extinguishers and neighbors rushed in with garden hoses.
Another twenty seconds passed and just as it looks like the car is going to burn up one of the firefighters frees the 4-year-old boy.
He is badly burned, but alive, and was rushed away from the flames and sprayed down with cold water.
Neighbors said they are amazed everyone survived. “I would do it for my kids so that’s why I stopped to get in there,” Lepkowski said. “I’m still shaken, you know, but I’ll never forget it.
”One of the off-duty fire fighters had serious burns to his arm the other needed stitches. Milwaukee Police Lt. Mark Wroblewski received some minor burns.“The neighborhood really came out as well with hoses,” Wroblewski said. “It shows the true sprit of the city.
”The boy had burns on 30 percent of his body and is currently in critical condition at Children’s Hospital.The mother and sister escaped with minor injuries.