One More Time: What Opponents of Amendment 2 on Medical Pot Get Wrong
FlaglerLive | October 5, 2014
Barney Bishop’s column in Context Florida opposing Amendment 2 was as rambling and incoherent as it was wrong.
One might suspect he’s gotten his hands on some of this “high THC” weed he’s so terrified about. I generally do the sensible thing and ignore Bishop’s paranoid screeds, but his latest missive not only contains the usual false arguments but also states that I (and this campaign) have not addressed those false arguments.
I have. We have. Again and again and again.
But here’s to you, Barney! One more time.
Bishop says: Charlotte’s Web is enough, marijuana with THC isn’t medicinal or needed
Wrong. Low-THC, high-CBD marijuana MAY work wonders for some (mostly those with seizure disorders) but does nothing for the the majority of Floridians who are suffering. Those with cancer, MS, ALS and many other afflictions need the stuff that gets you high. Sorry Barney.
And the Legislature has written such a poorly considered Charlotte’s Web law that the seizure-stricken kids who it was designed for are not likely to see much relief either. Turns out, some kids need 2 percent or even 4 percent THC to get results – the new law caps it at 1 percent.
That’s not even addressing the utter disaster of a business model the Legislature foisted onto the Department of Health. Or the fact that the law puts doctors in an extraordinary position of liability for “ordering” marijuana for their patients.
Now let’s discuss the “loopholes” that supposedly haven’t been addressed – but, in fact, have been addressed almost daily for months.
- Amendment 2 would allow “Pot for any purpose.”
The Florida Supreme Court very clearly addressed this one. This is not “pot for any purpose.” It is only for diseases and conditions that are “debilitating.”
This is no longer a valid argument. Opponents used it to ask the court to reject the amendment on the grounds it’s misleading.
In fact, the justices rejected THAT argument and affirmed that the language is clear. This is only for debilitating diseases. Period.
- Minors can get marijuana without parental consent.
Parental consent exists in Florida law. Doctors can’t and won’t treat minors without consent from a parent or legal guardian in non-emergency circumstances. Nothing in Amendment 2 changes that. Unless an amendment specifically repeals an existing law, that law remains in effect.
- Drug dealers will be caregivers.
This argument supposes that the state will implement Amendment 2 irresponsibly and place no restrictions on caregivers. It also ignores the most important qualification of a caregiver — that the patient chooses this person.
No one believes there should not be some additional requirements on who can be caregivers. But it is up to the Legislature and DOH to determine those requirements. I will commit now that if Amendment 2 passes, I will lobby for those restrictions and fight for them in court if someone argues that they are unconstitutional.
- Amendment 2 will create a new pill-mill crisis in Florida.
The DOH says that’s “unlikely.” Why? Because of a multistep process for becoming a qualified patient laid out in the text of the amendment.
The problem with pill mills was that you could walk into a doctor’s office and walk out with narcotics. That simply, unequivocally can’t occur under Amendment 2.
- Everyone has civil and criminal immunity under Amendment 2.
Wrong again. The court ruled on this as well. Immunity applies only to specific acts that were previously illegal: when a doctor writes the certification for medical use of marijuana; when the patient or caregiver decides that the “medical use” of marijuana is appropriate.
Anything beyond that narrow scope remains. Take any scare-tactic hypothetical and replace “marijuana” with “Xanax,” “Percocet,” or “cough medicine,” and the result is the same. Negligence is negligence.
I hope Barney now feels these “loopholes” have been properly addressed. I look forward to lobbying with him for a strict and responsible implementation of Amendment 2 during the next legislative session.
I really look forward to hundreds of thousands of Floridians getting relief from medical marijuana.
Ben Pollara is the campaign manager for United for Care and a Miami-based political consultant.