Sheriff Grady Judd and John Morgan will debate the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida

LAKELAND, Fla - Yes vs. No

Attorney John Morgan vs. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Any way you look at tonight's debate over the legalization of medical marijuana, the issue is a hot button topic, divisive and will be in voter's hands November 4.


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"Marijuana has changed my life," said Michael Vines, a Marine Corps vet who says he suffers from PTSD.


In a tearful interview, Vines told ABC Action News of his service overseas and the 15 months he spent abroad.

"Just being able to deal with the things that go on afterwards," Vines tried to explain.

Vines said when he returned he saw a physician and was prescribed a slew of drugs.  He said while those traditional drugs worked initially, their long-term effects began setting in and he stopped taking them.

"I used to take things for the noises and just the feelings in my head," he said.

According to his wife, the drug also saved their marriage.

"It's the only way he can come out of the house and hang out with me," explained Danielle Vines.

The couple are among dozens attending a pre-debate rally in support of Amendment 2, or the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida.

The rally, held at Lake Parker Inn, was hosted by Central Florida Farmacy and United for Care.

Morgan, who works out of Orlando, has poured millions of dollars into getting the amendment passed and serves as head of United Care.

"Grady Judd, Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuumble!!!!!!!" tweeted Morgan.

Morgan says he is arguing for compassion stemming from personal experience, noting several times publicly how his father and brother suffered from cancer and only found relief through the use of medical marijuana.

Judd staunchly disagrees.

"There is no medical purpose in smoked marijuana," said Judd.  "I am still amazed that we have spent billions of dollars telling people don't smoke filtered cigarettes, don't put that smoke in your lungs, but unfiltered marijuana is a good thing!"

Judd feels the passage of the amendment would lead to an abuse of power and points to loopholes in the law he feels would make marijuana available for sale even to area children.

"Tell John [Morgan] don't bother with the boxing gloves, this is going to be a bare knuckle fight," Judd added.

Judd also heads the Florida Sheriff's Organization and back in April launched an anti-amendment 2 campaign called, "Don't Let Florida Go To Pot," to try and derail the passage of the amendment.

The Vines agree the amendment might not be perfectly crafted, they just think the benefits outweigh the potential collateral damage.

"I should decide what I put in my body," Michael said.

The debate will begin at 6 p.m. and be held in the auditorium of the Harrison School for the Arts in Lakeland.

Voters will get to decide on the issue November 4.

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