As Tuesday, November 4th, the day to vote on Florida’s Amendment 2 draws near, the opponents of this medical marijuana use law are ramping up their opposition. Yesterday’s “Sun Sentinel” had an Op-Ed from Adam H. Putnam, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, who speaks out against the constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.
From the outset Putnam makes his opposition clear. “The poorly written language of the amendment will have irreversible, unintended consequences on our reputation as a family-friendly and business-friendly state,” states Putnam. “Gaping holes in the amendment language will open the floodgates for widespread marijuana use in Florida.”
Aa always, he opponents ignore the fact that the amendment is written is such a way that beyond the basic provisions to allow people with “debilitating,” diseases to consult with their physician to decide whether or not medical marijuana will be beneficial, and then it leaves the actual regulatory structure to the Florida Department of Health (DOH). The part that opponents can’t get over, is the provision for doctors to also recommend medical marijuana for patients with “other conditions,” as Putnam puts it, “Meaning anyone with as much as a headache could buy pot.” Headaches CAN be debilitating, and if your doctor feels medical marijuana may help, then that decision should remain between you and your doctor without Putnam or any legislator sticking his or her nose in.
From that point on the narrative goes downhill. “With no restrictions on age, even our children — who are at highest risk of the long-term effects from marijuana — will be able to access this gateway drug.”
The “Gateway” myth is a throwback from the “War on Drugs” days and there are numerous studies which have disproved the “Gateway” theory. In fact some consider alcohol the real gateway substance in our society and certainly the most abused substance by our youth. Further, the Fed’s historically racist prohibition of marijuana has forced marijuana users to be exposed to the criminal element to obtain marijuana. Opponents of legal medical marijuana would apparently rather continue to force Florida patients resort to criminals and organized crime to get their medicine.
Then Putnam moves on to point out that marijuana use can impair motor functions and paints a picture of rampant on-the-job accidents as a result. Seriously, how many prescription drugs, don’t have some kind of warning about driving or operating machinery while medicated? These prescription drugs are approved by the FDA and used by people in the workplace every day, and if you watch any television you may have heard some of the other “serious, sometimes fatal,” side-effects rattled off in the advertising disclaimers connected with those drugs. The bottom-line is, marijuana is safer than all those drugs. If and how a patient uses medical marijuana should be a personal recommendation from the patient’s physician and remain a personal decision.
“We’ve worked hard to make Florida the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Putnam states in his closing paragraph. “Don’t let Florida go to pot now. Vote no on Amendment 2.”
As with all opponents to medical marijuana, Putnam resorts to scare tactics, inaccuracies and pure myth to paint a picture of pot smokers everywhere, and school children walking into dispensaries to buy their weed. Opponents purposely ignore the fact that upon passage of Amendment 2, the DOH goes into action and is responsible for setting the rules and regulations implemented to control the sale and use of medical marijuana. Apparently Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture has very little confidence that his DOH colleagues’ are up to the task.
Sources: Sun Sentinel “Marijuana amendment poorly written”