OPINION: Vote ‘No’ On Flawed Amendment 2
By Dr. James Palermo // November 2, 2014
Indications For Medical Marijuana Vague, Distribution Process Unregulated
On November 4th, Florida voters will decide if the Sunshine State will join 23 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana.
In late July, polls projected overwhelming support for legalization, and supporters were confident that they would be able to capture the necessary 60 percent of votes casted for passage of Amendment 2.
However, over the past two months, there has been a surge in opposition to Amendment 2, with law enforcement organizations, the Florida Medical Association, business organizations, faith-based groups and several Florida newspaper editorial boards urging a “no” vote on Amendment 2.
AMENDMENT 2 ‘LOOPHOLES’ HIGHLIGHTED IN OPPOSITION’S CAMPAIGN
On the forefront of the opposition has been an organization called Vote No on 2, which is a grassroots campaign focused on educating Floridians on what they call the “loopholes” of Amendment 2. Its coalition includes members of law enforcement, business leaders, constitutional law attorneys, doctors and other medical professionals, parents and Floridians from all walks of life.
With the election rapidly approaching, the Vote No on 2 Campaign recently released the TV ad entitled “Wrap Up,” which will air in media markets across the state and highlight who – from doctors and sheriffs to Florida newspapers – have come out in opposition to Amendment 2.
The ad (see below video) presents a compelling warning about Amendment 2’s caregiver loophole, which could “protect drug dealers from prosecution,” and was highlighted in an opinion editorial authored by seven former Florida Supreme Court Justices.
“Florida newspapers, doctors and sheriffs across the state, as well as seven former Florida Supreme Court Justices, have all warned about the potential negative impacts if Amendment 2 passes,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the Vote No on 2 Campaign.
“There are no do-overs in the constitution and there is just too much at stake to put this terribly-flawed Amendment in our state’s constitution. It is clear that the only choice is to vote no on Amendment 2.”
“And, with Election Day right around the corner, we will continue to push out the facts so that all Floridians are informed on the true intentions behind Amendment 2,” concluded Bascom.
AMENDMENT 2 DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR A TRADITIONAL, WELL REGULATED PRESCRIPTION PROCESS
There is also grave concern that the focus of implementation and ongoing execution of a medical marijuana law as proposed by Amendment 2 would not ensure that only those who legitimately need it would have access to and use medical marijuana.
Amendment 2 does not provide for what in medicine we traditionally consider a therapeutic medication requiring a prescription, but rather a doctor’s “recommendation.”
The language in the referendum referring to a physician’s “certification” for use would not be managed and regulated like a formal prescription with DEA controlled substance regulations applied because a prescription for marijuana would violate federal law.
AMENDMENT 2 INDICATIONS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA TOO VAGUE TO PREVENT WIDESPREAD ABUSE
Not only does Amendment 2 fail to require a physician’s prescription, the definitions for the indications for medical marijuana such as “debilitating medical conditions” and ”other conditions,” are purposely vague and open to broad interpretation.
The full text of the amendment allows the use of marijuana for virtually any medical condition at the discretion of any recommending physician, with no actual prescription required.
There are also no dosing standards or guidelines for use built into this medical marijuana referendum.
We depend on the specific instructions for use as well as warnings and side effects that are included with every medication we are prescribed to protect our safety. That therapeutic and safety information is not required by Amendment 2.
According to Amendment 2, doctors “recommend” pot smoking for a period of time to “certified” users.
There is no “prescribed” quantity of pot, and doctors who are certifying patients and recommending medicinal marijuana use can recommend the purchase of as much marijuana as it takes until the user feels better.
BE INFORMED AND UNDERSTAND THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THE AMENDMENT
Before you go to the polls on Tuesday, please take a few minutes to read the amendment in full at: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/initiatives/fulltext/pdf/50438-2.pdf
There is a place for marijuana in certain forms and for specific conditions in our medical armamentarium.
However, Amendment 2 provides for none of the critical components that would ensure consistent medically appropriate prescribing and safe distribution of marijuana to those Floridians who might legitimately benefit from it.