Pubdate: Sat, 13 Sep 2014
Source: Tampa Bay Times (FL)
Copyright: 2014 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Karen Goldstein
Page: A11


The seven former Florida Supreme Court justices who opined on why they
believe that voters should reject medical marijuana as outlined in
Amendment 2 are misinterpreting some very important

First they claim that the amendment is too broadly written. The
amendment is a framework. The Department of Health will be writing the
regulations that will ultimately flesh out the rules.

They claim to have studied the impact of the amendment. Since this has
not yet even been voted on, there has been no impact to study.

As for the claim that the amendment will allow for the use of medical
marijuana for virtually any condition, patients will need to get a
recommendation from a licensed physician in order to obtain the
necessary proof that they are eligible to obtain their medicine. It is
true that there will be no prescriptions, but this is because there is
no prescription process for marijuana as it is not an FDA medication.

Amendment 2 does not have an age requirement because there are
instances where children receiving chemotherapy or who have other
conditions will benefit from marijuana medicine, but this does not
mean that all children will have access to it. They too will need a
doctor's recommendation, which would mean that parental intervention
would be a part of that process. Minor children cannot go to the
doctor without a parent.

As for the caregiver reference, once again, the amendment is merely a
beginning. The Department of Health will decide the requirements for
that position, will determine who can be a caregiver, and whether or
not there will be background checks or training.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states as well as in our nation's
capital. All indications are that it's been a win-win. According to
the Journal of the American Medical Association , deaths from
overdoses of opiate drugs in medical marijuana states has dropped by
nearly 25 percent. Traffic fatalities are down, in part it's believed,
because alcohol consumption in general is also decreased and binge
drinking is reduced.

Medical decisions need to be made by a patient and a physician, not by
Tallahassee politicians or by seven former justices.

Karen Goldstein, director, NORML of Florida, West Park
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