Capital Briefs

Will Florida say yes to medical marijuana?

This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.

MIAMI — As November’s Election Day draws near, the debate over legalizing medical marijuana is heating up as opposition campaigns get cranking.

“We believe the unintended consequences of Amendment 2 are serious and numerous enough to constitute a public health risk for Floridians,” Dr. Alan Pillersdorf, president of Florida Medical Association, the state’s largest physicians group, wrote in a media release.

“The lack of clear definitions in the amendment would allow (health care) providers, with absolutely no training in the ordering of controlled substances, to order medical marijuana.”

Jeff Scott, general council at FMA criticized the part of the amendment where it mentions who can prescribe the substance, warning that the word “physicians” is too broad of a term and will open the door for abuse.

“Chiropractors call themselves physicians,” Scott told Florida Watchdog.

They are not the only ones concerned about the consequences of passing the law.

The Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association posted a mini-documentary called “No on 2” on their website.

The nine-minute film features the Florida Sheriff Association, a lawyer, an ex-drug dealer, a minister,and a former Supreme Court justice, all asserting that various loopholes effectively will legalize pot in the Sunshine State. They claim California’s did experiment with medical marijuana “mutated into de facto legalization.”

The same group who produced the film also posted an ad on its Facebook page, “The new face of date rape” suggesting legalization could make it far easier to “roofie” someone with innocent-looking  marijuana edibles like the popular THC-infused cookies.

Despite the naysayers, the measure seems popular among the majority of voters. A recent survey done by Quinnipiac University found that Florida voters overwhelmingly support legalization of medical marijuana.

“Almost nine in ten Floridians favor legalizing medical marijuana and a small majority say adults should be able to possess small amounts of the drug for recreational purposes,” wrote Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey shows that support comes from Republicans, Democrats and independents. The survey polled 1,251 registered voters, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.77 percent.

Support also is coming from private businesses and corporations that see the measure as a boom for medical marijuana-related enterprises.

The Florida Medical Marijuana Treament Center Institute, as well as other organizations, is offering courses on growing, marketing and selling marijuana.

Last year, a Gallup survey showed that 58 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

To become a law, the constitutional amendment needs 60 percent voters approval in the Nov. 4 balloting.

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