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Petition To Stop Publix Heiress From Fighting Medical Marijuana Has 41,000 Signatures

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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Thousands of people are pushing back against Carol Jenkins Barnett, daughter of Publix supermarket founder George Jenkins, who donated $800,000 to Drug Free Florida in hopes of defeating the November medical marijuana vote.

A citizen-led petition on Change.org, aimed at stopping the heiress from donating money to anti-medical marijuana causes, has garnered more than 41,000 signatures, The Miami New Times reported Monday.

The petition was started by Heidi Handford, whose husband has been a medical marijuana user since the 1970s. She says she feels betrayed.

“The money I was spending on groceries was being used to take down the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative,” Handford writes in the petition. “I feel betrayed by a corporation I used to patronize.”

Handford goes on to explain that her husband is the, “longest surviving Federal Medical Marijuana patient in the nation,” and that she feels it is, “hypocritical that Publix has no problem selling drugs like opioids, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine,” but opposes medical marijuana treatment.

In a conversation with The Daily Caller News Foundation, a representative for Publix said the money Barnett has donated was “her own money,” and was not from the profits of the supermarket chain.

But those angered by her donations feel it is highly unlikely that the heiress is not using profits generated from the supermarket chain. There have even been protests at Publix stores throughout Florida.

“I am not opposed to medical marijuana. But I am very concerned about medical marijuana passing through a constitutional amendment,” a statement by Barnett given to TheDCNF by Publix director of media and community relations reads. “For a matter as important as medical marijuana, the details should be appropriately vetted and passed through the legislature.”

“I know many Floridians are frustrated that the legislature has not enacted a broader medical marijuana bill,” the statement continues. “[B]ut I don’t believe a constitutional amendment is the best solution.”

In 2015, Retail Wire wrote a piece about how Publix sees its pharmacy as central to expanding its business. In states where medical marijuana has been legalized, less prescriptions have been written. Since marijuana cannot be sold at conventional pharmacies, only at licensed marijuana dispensaries, that could affect Publix growth.

A study published in the journal Medical Affairs showed medical marijuana helped save Medicare $165 million in 2013.

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