Ad war launched on medical marijuana in Florida – Sun Sentinel

TV viewers in Florida this week are seeing the first attack in an ad war over medical marijuana, as polls point to a close contest on a constitutional amendment to legalize the illicit weed.

Opponents launched a $1.5-million round of statewide ads that flash words from the amendment across the screen while claiming it gives legal cover to drug dealing.

“Amendment 2 isn’t what it seems,” an ominous voice tells viewers. “Its caregiver provision gives legal protection to marijuana dealers. Even felons and drug dealers could be caregivers.

“They don’t call it the Drug Dealer Protection Act, but they should.”

It’s just the start of a battle over the airwaves on Amendment 2, a proposal to legalize marijuana for patients suffering from debilitating illnesses. Twenty-three states have adopted similar measures, but the Florida campaign has drawn national attention because it would be the first southern state to legalize medical marijuana.

Proponents plan to fire back this month with TV ads of their own. A version already running online depicts doctors tending to vulnerable patients.

“Voting yes on 2 will allow doctors to recommend the medicine they feel would ease the pain and suffering of thousands of sick Floridians,” a soothing voice tells viewers. “Vote yes on 2 and trust our doctors to decide what’s best.”

Both sides of the intense debate are pouring millions of dollars into the campaign.

Drug Free Florida, which sponsored this week’s TV ads, has raised $3.22 million, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Some $2.5 million came from Sheldon Adelson, a philanthropist and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and a generous contributor to Republican candidates.

United for Care has raised $6.15 million to promote the amendment.

John Morgan, an Orlando lawyer and Democratic super-donor, contributed …read more