Voters in Florida will be deciding this November on an amendment to their state constitution to allow so-called medical marijuana, the Clearwater Gazette reports today. Critics of the measure, including many from law enforcement, say the language of the proposal is so broad that it would legalize recreational pot smoking, citing the experience in California where the allowance of medical marijuana made the drug available to just about anyone that wanted it.
Opponents of the measure, which is question 2 on the state ballot, have organized a “Vote No on 2” campaign to convince voters to reject the measure. The Gazette reports, “Dr. Jessica Spencer, statewide coalition director of the Vote No on 2, will be the guest speaker at the Monday meeting. She represents the organization that argues that the amendment would allow unrestricted sale and use of marijuana by anyone, including minors, in a virtually unregulated setting like the one that followed a medical marijuana measure in California.”
Most in law enforcement, including the majority of the Florida Sheriffs Association, are opposed to passing the measure. They fear the legalization of marijuana, via the “medical marijuana” amendment, would lead to the use of other more dangerous drugs since many addicts first begin to use pot as a “gateway drug” before progressing to additions to other drugs such as opiates, oxycodone, oxycontin, cocaine, heroin, etc.
The measure, titled the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, might even have an effect on the race for governor in Florida this year. Incumbent governor Rick Scott, a Republican, opposes the measure but recognizes that some substances contained in the plant do have medicinal benefits. The Washington Examiner reported recently, “Scott opposes Amendment 2, but he recently signed legislation that legalized the prescription of a strain of non-euphoric marijuana that can help treat epilepsy, Lou Gehrig's disease, and other ailments. The strain is low in THC and the bill only allows marijuana consumption through oil or vapors, but not by smoking, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “
Democrat nominee for governor, Charlie Crist, is believed to be in favor of the measure but that is not yet confirmed. While there is believed to be wide public support for the concept of medical marijuana, the position of Scott might be in line with public opinion the more voters realize that the non-intoxicating ingredients in marijuana that are medically beneficial can be taken by patients in non-smokeable and non-intoxicating forms. This, in addition to a growing perception that the real purpose of “medical marijuana” is legalizing of recreational pot smoking may lead to increased opposition to legalizing smokeable pot as medical marijuana.