It should be a simple thing. Getting needed medication to people who are suffering. And, that’s the problem with medical marijuana. If it is a needed drug, it should go through the same vetting process of the Federal Food and Drug administration as all other drugs do. In fact, according to a website, ProCon.org, there are 10 drugs based upon cannabis that have already been approved.
It doesn’t need to be enshrined in the Florida Constitution as a precious citizen’s right anymore than we should declare it a personal right to sniff glue to get a euphoric high. The constitutional amendment process is too permanent and inelastic for a topic that is best dealt with scientifically and/or within the legislative process which will have to be applied anyway.
Medical marijuana, according to studies I have read, does appear to have positive effects on people suffering from the after effects of chemotherapy, those with seizures, MS and HIV/AIDS. There are warnings, however, against uses by pregnant women, those with heart disease, or a history of psychosis in addition to the traditional (as in alcohol) worry about dizziness, drowsiness, short term memory loss and euphoria. But it is not a miracle drug and shouldn’t be treated as such.
The broader thrust of Amendment 2, however, is to legalize marijuana. This is obvious in its proponents’ marketing heavily to the college crowd. Young college students aren’t normally in the sick group, but many would like to legally use marijuana. I have no objection to debating this subject. In fact, we should debate legalizing and controlling/regulating any and all drugs including designer drugs.
The war on drugs hasn’t worked very well and there is the freedom factor to be considered. I do question offering another drug in addition to alcohol (what’s the societal benefit of it?) and would like to see how things work out in Colorado and Washington states. On the other hand, legalized anything that is now illegal creates a whole new industry and jobs. But, those are arguments for another time.
In the meantime, Amendment 2 provides for establishing Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers all over the state where marijuana in all forms – leaf for smoking, food, and oils – could be provided to those with medically approved ID cards for suffering individuals or their caregivers. No specific prescription and no qualifications other than being 21 years old for the care givers is required. The legislature would probably set some guidelines, however.
Everything would be overseen by the State Health Department. Since the Health Department (based upon Colorado figures) estimated that there as many as 1800 centers would be opened and as many as 250,000 caregivers involved, it is not likely this could be handled without a broad expansion of the department. They estimate a cost of over $1,000,000 a year. Other costs for other departments or any local costs were not included. Also, admittedly, these costs could be offset by revenue from the sales tax.
None of this addresses quality and potency concerns, not to mention the issues involved in producing THC laced foods or the use of extracted oils. Will these safety concerns be regulated and by whom and at what cost? This amendment doesn’t have the support of the police, the medical profession, or retired Florida Supreme Court justices. It shouldn’t get our support, either.
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