On Oct. 8, Lindsay Alexander wrote a column opposing the approval of Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida. Alexander’s concerns about Amendment 2 are misguided.
I have studied Amendment 2 and many other states’ medical marijuana legislation, and I can confidently say that she is mistaken about the amendment’s meaning and about the consequences for our state that passing Amendment 2 will have.
California was the first state to pass medical marijuana legislation. Proposition 215 passed in 1996, and it was a sparse bill that provided little regulatory guidance. The predictable result, as Alexander noted, was a poorly regulated system that allows virtually anyone to obtain access to marijuana.
However, much has changed in the ensuing 20 years. Since the passage of Prop 215, 22 other states have legalized medicinal marijuana. None of them have suffered the adverse consequences that California did. Florida waited patiently during that time and will benefit from the wisdom garnered from watching 23 diverse legislative bodies provide compassionate access to marijuana for their citizens who need it most. Amendment 2 reflects that wisdom and will ensure that Florida does not end up like California.
Amendment 2 draws on that wellspring of experiential wisdom to provide Florida with a solid foundation and firm, clear guidelines for the Department of Health to construct a safe, secure medical marijuana system. The fine print will not open the floodgates to allow anyone access to marijuana as Alexander fears.
The amendment would allow the use of medical marijuana for individuals with “conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”
Those extra words, which Alexander seemingly ignored, are very important. They build circumscribed flexibility into the amendment to allow greater access with only a patient’s doctor’s carefully considered permission. Proposition …read more