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Medical group opposes Florida's medical marijuana initiative

Florida medical group opposes medical marijuana
Florida medical group opposes medical marijuana
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Sunshine State may become the 24th state to allow medical marijuana, but on Monday, the state’s largest physician lobbying group, the Florida Medical Association, firmly stated they oppose Amendment 2. The anti-medical marijuana status came directly from the FMA’s president, Alan B. Pillersdorf, M.D., a cosmetic surgeon. He told the News-Press.com that the the group believes the initiative will create “serious and unintended consequences,” that will “constitute a public health risk for Floridians.” Pillersdorf further stated that the new proposal lacks “clear definitions, and would allow healthcare providers with absolutely no training in the ordering of controlled substances, to order medical marijuana.”

The United For Care group that is responsible for placing medical marijuana on Florida's 2014 ballot told Examiner, "there is no reason for FMA to oppose Amendment 2." UFC's Campaign Manager, Ben Pollara, said, "they don't understand FMA's position since SB 1030 passed in May, and FMA was engaged in creating training procedures," for the low-dose THC that was allowed under the new act. He said SB 1030 authorized physicians to come up with new policy and procedures for prescribing low-dose medical marijuana, and "we welcome them to do the same under Amendment 2."

However, 23 states have approved medical marijuana. The first state to approve MMJ was California in 1996, but the trend has continued, with Maryland and Minnesota approving marijuana for medical use as recently as 2014. To date, no reports indicate anyone has died from overdosing with marijuana. Do you think it’s a bit of a stretch for the doctor’s group to be highly concerned about safety issues in regard to legalizing medical marijuana?

In 2013 one of the largest drug policy groups came together to discuss the epidemic of overdosing with prescription drugs. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, they reported overdose deaths from prescribed drugs kills “113 people a day in the United States, while “6,748 are treated” for severe abuse of prescribed drugs. The overdose death numbers do not include deaths from complicated drug side effects. According to Fox News, the FDA deaths from prescribed drugs “between January 1998 and December 2005, a total of 467,809 serious complications were found, and reported deaths from those complications tripled from 5,519 to 15,107.”

So far, the numbers indicate that medical marijuana possesses less of a public health threat than prescription drugs, prescribed by licensed medical doctors. Do you think the strong opposition from the FMA about Florida legalizing medical marijuana is baseless?

A nonpartisan group, ballotopia.com summarized the details of Florida’s Amendment 2. The initiative will place The Florida Department of Health in charge of creating policy and procedures for MMJ, which also includes developing dose regulation to ensure public safety. Furthermore, the proposal would guarantee licensed physicians, personal care providers, medical marijuana treatment centers, and registered patients that they “will not be subject to criminal or civil liberty or sanctions under state law.”

Although the Florida Medical Association is against allowing medical marijuana, Pollara said their latest poll showed "70 percent" of voters support legalizing MMJ.