Is Medical Marijuana Under A Cloud Of Smoke?
BY STAFF WRITER
In preparation of the upcoming elections, as it pertains to the Amendments on the ballot, the Florida Association of Black Owned Media (FABOM) met with opponents (Dr. Jessica Spencer, Policy Director and Clarence McKee, Consultant to Drug Free Florida) and proponents (Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager and Kim McCray, Outreach Director and Bianca Garza Director of Communications) of Amendment 2; the medical marijuana issue.
Bobby R. Henry, Sr., President of FABOM said, "We as Black media owners need to be able to present an unbiased report from all sides. This issues will affect us from now on."
Members of FABOM met recently in Orlando, Florida to educate themselves and be properly prepared to offer valuable information that would be the best for their voting readership. Listening to both sides of Amendment 2, the group found the meeting to be one of educational awareness in all aspects of the medical marijuana issues. Acting Secretary for FABOM, Irene Pridgen of the Weekly Challenger wanted to know from both sides, what has change since the last election? “It appears to be the same old thing, what’s new? Marijuana is marijuana, isn’t it?” asked Pridgen.
“There’s been some changes in the language. The new initiative contains explicit language clarifying issues about which some opponents of Amendment 2 were concerned in 2014,” said Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager for Vote Yes.
Differences between 2014 and 2016 measures
Although the 2014 measure and the 2016 measure were both designed to legalize medical marijuana, there are some differences between the two proposals. The 2016 measure clarifies requirements for parental consent for the use of medical marijuana by minors and also further defines what is meant by "debilitating" illnesses that would qualify for marijuana as a treatment option. The 2016 measure also addresses concerns regarding caregivers by making it clear that doctors would not be immune from malpractice claims for negligent prescribing of marijuana and by limiting how many patients a caregiver can treat with marijuana
Both sides were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their perspectives.
Dr. Jessica Spencer of the Vote No for medical marijuana was extremely enlightening with views on how this medical marijuana was nothing like what people recreationally smoked in the 70s and early 80s. Dr. Spencer stated, "The marijuana that was being smoke then is very different from the marijuana of today. The THC content has rose from less than 1% to almost 13% today and in some other forms even higher."
There were other pertinent factors that Dr. Spencer offered to consider such as recently discovered kid-friendly pot candy infused with 250mg of THC. Dr. Spencer noted that in states like California, where medical marijuana is legally being sold, children as young as 21 months are being rushed to the emergency room as a result.
"If Amendment 2 passes, you can expect more children visiting the hospital after unknowingly consuming THC confused edibles," Dr. Spencer said.
Some would argue that studies have shown that many patients suffering from glaucoma, cancer and chemotherapy, and other illnesses find that marijuana offers relief from their symptoms. Recreational smokers of marijuana say without a doubt that it can increase your appetite.
There are those that believe that Amendment 2 will allow Pot Shops to become like Florida’s infamous Pill Mills. They will find themselves in neighborhoods already dealing with a number of undesirable establishments and behaviors.
They questioned the legitimacy of medical marijuana measures and call Amendment 2 a "scam to legalize pot."
With all the differing’s, benefits verses downfalls this issue will not be one so easily dismissed or incorporated, there is still much to be said on both sides.
Stay tune for more on the issue of YES or NO on Amendment 2.