Grocery Chain Heiress Makes Massive Donation To Fight Florida Medical Marijuana Bill

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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The heiress to the Florida-based Publix supermarket chain has donated $800,000 to Drug Free Florida in an effort to stop legislation to expand Florida’s medical marijuana law.

The Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust made the donation to help fight against Amendment 2, according to a Miami New Times article. The bill would expand Florida’s medical marijuana laws to cover those with “debilitating medical conditions.”

United For Care, a group supporting the bill, believes medical marijuana is an effective medical treatment.

“Her money is not going to be well spent because I’m confident we’re going to pass this law with more than the 60 percent needed in November,” Ben Pollara, campaign manager of United For Care, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

“They may outraise us, but we simply need to make sure we have enough to get our message out, statewide,” he said.

This is the second go-round for Amendment 2. The bill was defeated by a narrow margin in 2014. Barnett donated $540,000 to Drug Free Florida — an organization aimed at keeping people off drugs — that year to thwart the bill.

Florida currently allows for a non-smokable, low-THC product, called Cannabidiol, to be used by people suffering from seizure disorders, muscle spasms, or cancer. A patient suffering from a terminal illness, as determined by two physicians, can get full strength marijuana under state law, according to Florida’s Office for Compassionate Use.

Barnett recently stepped down from the Publix board of directors due to being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Oddly enough, some studies have shown medical marijuana’s effectiveness in fighting the disease.

Publix sees its pharmacy department as key to growing the company. So, if medical marijuana were fully legalized in Florida, Publix could potentially see a hit to its profits, since medical marijuana marijuana can only be obtained from officially licensed dispensaries.

Some have taken to Twitter to express their disgust with the donation.

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