Editorial: Vote No On Amendment 2

Medical marijuana has helped ease the suffering of patients with cancer and other horrendous diseases. But is Amendment 2 necessary? In our opinion…no, it is not.
Florida has already passed Charlotte’s Web Legislation that will provide low-THC cannabis to patients suffering from cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms. This legislation is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The only thing Amendment 2 will do is confuse the issue. Helping people who are suffering is good, but Amendment 2, as written, will allow those who do not have a true medical need for medical marijuana be able to have access to it.
This Amendment has been labeled as one of the worst written amendments of all time. The wording is so vague in so many areas that we truly don’t know what we are voting on. If Florida passes Amendment 2 then we will become one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states in the nation.
It is so broadly written that we encourage each of you to read the entire amendment, not just the wording on the ballot (although the wording on the ballot alone should scare us enough).
Even in the ballot summary it says, “(Amendment 2) Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician.”
In the full text of the proposed constitutional amendment it defines ‘debilitating medical condition’ as: “cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Chron’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risk for a patient.”
What does “other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risk for a patient,” mean? What exactly are the criteria for the need to outweigh the risk?
We do not know. You do not know. No one knows! There are no criteria Floridian physicians must follow to ensure that the patient is receiving the right treatment for their ailments. In the states where medical marijuana has been approved, more than 90 percent is dispensed for “other conditions” such as insomnia, anorexia, migraines, muscle spasms, neck pain, back pain and menstrual cramps.
Written in Charlotte’s Web, if the patient is under the age of 18, a second physician must concur with the first physician’s belief that the patient would benefit from use of low-THC cannabis. Charlotte’s Web also has a limitation of THC levels in the drugs used…but Amendment 2 has no limitations. Under the loose wording in Amendment 2, there are no criteria that a Floridian physician must follow to ensure that the patient is receiving the right treatment for their ailments.  The wording also allows a patient, under the age of 18, to receive the “medical marijuana” without the consent of his/her parents.
Another loophole in Amendment 2 is the verbiage concerning caregivers. “Caregivers” are the people who could be taking care of your mother, your father or your sibling. Under Amendment 2 there is only one requirement – - that they must be 21 years old. There is no background check, no training, and/or no requirement for medical experience in order to be considered “worthy” as a caregiver. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) will be responsible for the issuance of identification cards for patients and caregivers.  With no background check how will the DOH know who they are issuing these caregiver identification cards to?
Other verbiage, left in such a variety of different shades of gray, is the paragraph that reads “Increased costs from this amendment to state and local governments cannot be determined. There will be additional regulatory and enforcement activities associated with the production and sale of medical marijuana. Fees will offset at least a portion of the regulatory costs. While sales tax may apply to purchases, changes in revenue cannot reasonably be determined since the extent to which medical marijuana will be exempt from taxation is unclear without legislative or state administrative action.”
This means that they know there will be additional costs to the taxpayers, but it ‘cannot be determined.’ So, we can almost guarantee the possibility that our local (and possibly state) taxes will increase in order to offset the costs that will be associated with this new law. Where does ‘local governments’ get their funding? From their local taxpayer!
The issue we have with Amendment 2 is that nothing is clearly spelled out; the amendment’s language is too vague. As written, there is no certainty of what will happen if Amendment 2 is passed except uncertainty. We urge you to vote no on Amendment 2.
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