JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Medical marijuana is one of the most controversial topics in the healthcare industry today, and the debate is just heating up in Florida.
On Friday the group United for Care, which supports legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes, sent Action News a statement, claiming they hit an historic mark.
"It's official: The Supervisors of Elections have validated enough of our submitted signatures to place us on the ballot in November," wrote campaign manager Ben Pollara. "This is an amazing feat. I have to admit, less than a year ago I never thought we'd see this day - but thanks to your support and hard work, we were able to make history together."
Pollara says 710,508 signatures have been validated on a petition calling for the law to appear on November's ballot - 27,359 more than what was required by Feb. 1.
"The only thing holding up official certification and placement on the ballot is the ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, which could come anytime between now and April 1. But we can't stop for a minute - an even greater task is at hand. We must make sure that at least 60% percent of Florida voters support the amendment come Nov. 4. Together we will bring medical marijuana to the thousands and thousands of seriously ill Floridians who are desperate for relief."
Although many voters are showing their support, Action News has learned doctors may not be if the proposal is added to the November ballot.
"Most physicians are taking a wait-and-see approach," said Dr. Ruple Galani, a Jacksonville cardiologist and secretary of the Duval County Medical Society.
Galani said physicians within the DCMS and Florida Medical Association agree that there's not yet enough evidence to prove pot is good for patients.
"It's hard to do a study on a drug that is technically illegal."
Galani says most doctors treat patients based on results from clinical trials, and so far there haven't been any extensive studies yielding firm results.
"We like to give therapies and treatments to patients that we know are not going to hurt them. We need that proof that the drug is going to help first, and even then we are cautious."
Galani thinks it could take at least five years to recruit the nearly 10,000 patients needed for accurate results. Once a study has been completed and accepted by the medical community, more doctors could be convinced.
"Would you have everyone the next day writing a prescription for it? Not necessarily, but there would be more comfort for it. I think there's a lot that has to be sorted out yet before we come to some final conclusion."