Regarding "Follow Florida's painkiller example" (Washington Post,
Other Views, July 8):
The Post's one-sided, one-dimensional exalting over the state of
Florida's shutdown of so-called "pill mills" and doctors accused of
over-prescribing painkillers overlooks another side of the issue that
it and anti-drug crusaders are either ignorant of or choose to
ignore. My wife suffers from severe and chronic pain caused by
degenerative arthritis of her hips. Hip replacement surgery will
hopefully alleviate the pain. In the meantime, she's in constant,
unremitting pain from the damage to her hips. High concentration
doses of Vicodin or similar pain-control medication used to be able
to control her pain.
[continues 417 words]
Florida for Care Hopes to Write Guidelines
TALLAHASSEE - Florida for Care, a group casting itself as above the
politics of pot, will begin work this summer crafting a set of policy
recommendations that lawmakers could put in place if voters approve a
constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.
The group is applying with the IRS for a specific type of nonprofit
status that, if approved, would allow Florida for Care to avoid
disclosing the donors fueling those policy discussions or future
[continues 399 words]
There Would Be 5 Dispensaries Across State
TALLAHASSEE - Winners of Florida's five, highly sought-after medical
marijuana licenses could be selected through lotteries, according to
a draft rule released late Wednesday by the Department of Health.
The 16-page document comes in advance of an agency workshop Monday in
Tallahassee that is drawing heavy attention.
The draft rule, generally considered a starting point, outlines how
the state intends to implement a new law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott,
that made Florida one of nearly two dozen states that permit some
sort of marijuana. Florida's law restricts legal marijuana to strains
that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and
high in cannabadiol, or CBD. The low-THC, high-CBD strain is
purported to eliminate or dramatically reduce life-threatening
seizures in children with severe epilepsy. The law also allows
patients who suffer from severe muscle spasms or cancer to be put on
a "compassionate use registry" for the low-THC product as long as
their doctors approve.
[continues 555 words]
Regarding "=C2=80=C2=9CNot your father'=C2=80=C2=99s marijuana"=C2=80=C2=9D
(Our Views, June 10):
Those opposed to the therapeutic use of marijuana are out of touch
with both scientific and public opinion. Over 20 states and the
District of Columbia allow for the physician-recommended use of the
plant. This year lawmakers in Maryland and Minnesota enacted new laws
specific to cannabis therapy. New York legislators are anticipated to
approve a similar measure in the coming weeks. Additionally, in recent
months lawmakers in Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and
Vermont enacted legislation expanding their existing medical marijuana
[continues 152 words]
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a reliable reporter. Last August, his CNN "Weed
1" documentary showed us the heart-rending videos of Charlotte Figi,
who was initially having seizures, then was virtually healed by
Gupta followed up with "Weed 2" in March and spoke in favor of the
"entourage effects" - the "synergy" discovered by Israeli researchers
in the whole plant.
Amendment 2 would legalize the whole plant as medicine. But the
Tribune recommends a "no" vote because some people might want the
whole plant only to treat back pain or relieve stress or even, God
forbid, to smoke and "get high." A few people will, but what about
the vast majority - the patients who now must break the law to get
relief they can't get from pills?
I trust their testimony long before I trust the tests funded by Big
Pharma and spoon-fed to the FDA for their approval.
John G. Chase
Amendment 2, which is up for vote in Florida in November, is not
about the outright legalization of cannabis in a recreational form.
It's not about the decriminalization of the growth, cultivation,
harvesting, possession, distribution, sale of or consumption of
cannabis outside of legal medical purposes. It's about giving real
patients, who truly would benefit from the medicinal effects from the
cannabis plant, safe access to medicinal cannabis - without the fear
of getting thrown into the hoosegow for trying to stop their
tonic-clonic (formerly known as grand mal) epileptic seizures and the
debilitating side effects from the pharmaceuticals being pumped into
their bodies to fight atrocious battles with deadly diseases such as
cancer and AIDS.
[continues 141 words]
Florida's conservative lawmakers put aside the instinct to be against
any form or marijuana legalization this past legislative session and
passed a bill that legalizes a low-potency marijuana strain known as
It represented a turnaround for the Republican-controlled
Legislature, and this week Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law.
It's a humane decision that will provide some relief to children and
others suffering from epilepsy, cancer and debilitating conditions
that cause severe muscle spasms. But support for the law should not
be confused with the staunch opposition by the governor and other
conservatives to Amendment 2 on the November ballot, which would make
medical marijuana legal on a much greater scale.
[continues 352 words]
Regarding the June 10 editorial ("=C2=9CNot your parents=C3=A2=C2=80=C2=99
Our Views), the National Institute on Drug Abuse is not a credible
authority on marijuana. Director Nora Volkow would have us believe
that stronger marijuana is reason to continue criminalizing citizens
who prefer marijuana to martinis.
Assuming our federal government is genuinely concerned about the
health of those citizens they want arrested, they should know that
health-conscious marijuana consumers deliberately seek out the
strongest strains of marijuana available. Potent pot means less smoke
inhalation. One or two small puffs will yield the desired result.
[continues 105 words]
I applaud your position on the marijuana amendment on the November
ballot in Florida ("Not your parents' marijuana," Our Views, June
10). What caught my eye, though, is the fact that lawyer John Morgan
is an ardent backer (as in money) of the amendment. If his intentions
are pure, he should pledge that if the amendment passes his firm
would not involve itself in any case involving marijuana use.
New Port Richey
Nora Volkow's warnings in the New England Journal of Medicine of the
long- and short-term dangers of marijuana are lost on me, as long as
we continue to use drugs that are equally dangerous in our lives every
day. Consider a drug that leads to addiction, heart irregularities,
impaired judgment, liver disease, depression and fetal damage a=C2=80" al
Consider a drug that leads to addiction, nervousness, both hyper- and
hypoglycemia, and sleep disorders a=C2=80" caffeine.
[continues 97 words]
It was easy to dismiss marijuana use in the closing decades of the
last century as a harmless pastime that, while illegal, was less
destructive than alcohol and not as addictive as cocaine or other harder drugs.
But medical studies now getting attention in advance of the November
referendum on medical marijuana in Florida are painting a far
different picture of the effects of marijuana on brain development
and its potential addictiveness.
Though the amendment on the November ballot would limit the
legalization to medical uses, voters should still consider the
studies when deciding whether to support the measure. In the two
states where marijuana is now legal for recreational use - Colorado
and Washington - voters had approved medical marijuana years earlier.
[continues 410 words]
Pain Pill Epidemic Doubled Number of Tampa Bay Patients on Methadone
in Just 4 Years
TAMPA - The lobby starts filling up before dawn in the nondescript
office building on Columbus Drive.
Young adults, middle-aged, men, women, some poor, some not, some
employed, some not, they wait patiently in the dark and as the sun
breaks over the horizon and the June day heats up.
Amidst their varying demographics, they share a few notable
characteristics. They're addicts. They want to break the habit.
[continues 1278 words]
John Morgan Has Choice Words for Wasserman Schultz
TAMPA --- Top Florida Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
announced she opposes the proposed medical marijuana constitutional
amendment, drawing an angry response Friday from another of the
party's most important state figures - Orlando lawyer John Morgan.
Morgan has bankrolled the amendment campaign and is a chief supporter
of Charlie Crist in his bid for governor.
The state Republican Party seized on the rift, accusing Morgan - and
by association, Crist - of sexism for criticizing Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz is head of the Democratic National Committee and
has represented the Miami area's 23rd Congressional district since 2005.
[continues 570 words]
Medical Marijuana Backers Dismiss Findings As Old News
TAMPA - The nation's top drug official has weighed in on the
marijuana debate, publishing a paper in a prestigious medical journal
this week arguing that the substance has been associated with
substantial adverse effects.
The paper in the New England Journal of Medicine by Nora Volkow,
director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, focuses on existing
research and breaks no new ground. But the document is sure to
influence the debate over Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment on
this fall's statewide ballot that would allow the use of marijuana
for certain medical conditions in Florida.
[continues 471 words]
In response to 'Highly uncertain times' (Views, May 18), I wish
people would put out all of the information about these polls instead
of just what they want to use.
This is the whole poll about the medical marijuana amendment:
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,413 registered voters, and the poll had a
margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percent. This is the population
for Florida last year: 19,552,860. I would like to know how they
figure the poll results comprise 88 percent of the population. I also
would like to know the demographics they used, because you can get a
poll to state anything you want just by controlling where you poll.
Personally, I think they are lying to promote legalized marijuana.
They probably figure nobody would check their figures, so they could
get away with lying to the people of Florida.
If Florida Voters OK Medical Pot, Businesses Will Face Complex Legal Issues
This fall, Florida voters will have the ability to legalize medical
marijuana. The legal impact on employers will be significant.
The latest Quinnipiac University poll, released May 5, found 88
percent of Florida voters support allowing adults to legally use
marijuana for medical purposes. In light of that strong support, the
proposed amendment to Florida's Constitution seems certain to
succeed. If it does, employers may find themselves questioning how
best to deal with issues and questions related to employee use of
[continues 669 words]
Florida sheriffs speak out against medical marijuana because they
deal every day with violent crime involving individuals who often
abuse alcohol or other drugs. They rarely encounter an individual
like the one who was the subject of the May 4 Letter of the Day, "Let
her have a shot at a semi-normal life."
They - all of us - should look outside our own experience. When
Florida votes for Amendment 2 in November, we will not be the guinea
pig; over one third of our 50 states already have had medical
marijuana laws in effect long enough to draw conclusions. In those
states, public safety actually has improved. This is documented by
six research papers, either peer-reviewed or in the process. They are
all good-faith attempts at apples-to-apples comparisons. Taken as a
group, these states have seen reductions in property crime and
violent crime, in traffic fatalities and in suicides. Equally
important, there has been no increase in marijuana use by adolescents.
In light of this recent data, Florida sheriffs should reconsider
their opposition to Amendment 2.
John G. Chase
BRANDON --- A child abuse investigation has been closed with a finding
of innocence in the case of Renee Petro, a Fishhawk mother who's
seeking to use a medical marijuana derivative to help her
brain-damaged, epilepsy-stricken child.
Pleased at the outcome, Petro went to see Gov. Rick Scott as he made
an appearance in Brandon on Tuesday as part of a statewide re-election
campaign kickoff tour.
In a brief conversation with Scott after his speech, Petro thanked him
for promising to sign a bill just passed by the state Legislature that
would legalize the derivative and urged him to learn more about
medical uses of marijuana.
[continues 614 words]
I am the husband of a woman who has fought against severe
fibromyalgia, scoliosis, sciatic nerve pain, degenerative arthritis,
diabetes and episodes of congestive heart failure (CHF) for many
years. Although she has been able to control her diabetes and CHF,
the debilitating pain of her fibro, scoliosis and sciatica makes her
life a fight against the odds each day. She can't stand for more than
a few minutes at a time, even with her walker. She can't sit in one
position for more than a few minutes, despite the comfort of a
recliner. Many times I have seen her rocking back and forth, crying
uncontrollably with the pain.
[continues 444 words]
Campaign Cites Increase in Crime, Traffic Accidents
TAMPA - Florida law enforcement authorities are set to begin a public
awareness campaign to fight the effort to legalize medicinal
marijuana, a question that will be put to voters in November.
This winter, the Florida Sheriff's Association sent sheriffs across
the state an email asking for their support of a resolution opposing
the legalization of marijuana. A vast majority of the 67 sheriffs was
in favor of fighting against any effort to legalize pot.
[continues 653 words]