Florida’s Medical Marijuana Amendment a Dopey Idea

Let me say right out of the gate that I’m in favor of some form of marijuana legalization.  I would support H.R. 499, which would remove marijuana from coverage under the Controlled Substances Act.  States would still be free to regulate or ban marijuana as they chose, but it would no longer be a federal issue.

As a political issue, it seems a foregone conclusion.  States that are legalizing Marijuana for either medical or recreational reasons are popping up at each election cycle.  Gallup shows that the majority of Americans now support marijuana legalization.  A mixed bag of Institutions and people now support marijuana legalization. This past year, the editorial board of the New York Times endorsed marijuana legalization; however the editorial board of the conservative flagship magazine National Review beat them to the punch by 18 years.  From Rand Paul, to David Koch to Pat Robertson; many figures on the right have spoken out in support of marijuana legalization.

However where we are now, is that even though several States have legalized medical marijuana, it’s still illegal at the federal level.  This means even though if you are in a State that has some sort of marijuana legalization, and can smoke a joint in front of your local sheriff, a federal agent could walk right up behind you and arrest you.

After all, marijuana is still illegal everywhere in the country under federal law.

What this means in the real world is that pot is still illegal, but various states have decided to facilitate breaking the law, whether it’s under the rubric of “medical” marijuana or in a more honest version, like Colorado where it’s available for recreational use.  This is the rankest sort of hypocrisy that would normally be a red flag to the young people who are more likely than not favor some version of pot legalization.  But in the case of pot…eh…they’ll let the hypocrisy slide.

And it is hypocrisy because for all practical purposes, “medical’ marijuana doesn’t exist.  Oh I realize there have been studies that have shown benefits to glaucoma patients, and for some chemotherapy patients, it’s allowed them to get their appetites back in the recovery from each chemo session, but that’s not who makes up the typical medical marijuana patient.  California provides a good case study since it’s had medical marijuana longer than any state in the nation. As writer David Frum noted recently:

“To understand where the marijuana debate is going, it’s important to appreciate that “medical marijuana” is a laughable fiction. In California, the typical user of so called medical marijuana s a 32-year-old white man with no life-threatening illness but a long record of substance abuse.

Under Colorado’s now-superseded medical marijuana regime, only 2% of those prescribed marijuana suffered from cancer, and only 1% from HIV/AIDS. Some 94% cited unspecified “pain” as the justification for their pot prescription. False patients find unscrupulous doctors: in Oregon, only 10 practitioners write the majority of all marijuana prescriptions in the state.” 

Even pro-pot Reason magazine noted that in California:

The top three reasons physicians gave for recommending marijuana were “back/spine/neck pain” (31 percent), “sleep disorders” (16 percent), and “anxiety/depression” (13 percent).

In other words, total bullshit reasons.

So now, medical marijuana has come to Florida.  Amendment 2 to the Florida constitution is on the ballot for Election Day, November 4th. Like other medical marijuana proposals, Florida’s is a sham for the purpose of legalizing pot under a fig leaf of medical diagnoses.  And this is the fig leaf from the defining of the phrase debilitating medical condition:

The measure defines a “debilitating medical condition” as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease “or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.

So in other words, anything, like undiagnosed back pain, anxiety, and trouble sleeping would warrant a “prescription” for pot. So as far as Florida’s medical marijuana amendment goes, sorry but I’ll (puff puff) pass.

This constitutional amendment, like others in the State of Florida, are not the product a grassroots movement of people in the state, it’s the product of special interests.  In this case, the special interest is the PAC People United for Medical Marijuana, which is the creation of Florida attorney John Morgan.  For those unfamiliar with Florida, Morgan is the state’s equivalent of Boss Hogg.  He runs the most powerful personal injury law firm in Florida, and the power of his advertising dollar buys compliance from local Florida media.  Morgan has personally contributed over 3 and a half million dollars to the PAC, which is more than half the amount the PAC has raised.John Morgan

Morgan has a public reason for supporting medical marijuana, a paralyzed brother who depends on pot to dull the pain from his accident. That could be a perfectly legitimate reason if not for the timing of it.

Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate for governor, works for Morgan in his law firm.  In fact, it was under Morgan’s tutelage that Crist, a former Republican who became an independent when he lost his senate primary run against Marco Rubio, was baptized as a Democrat.  All Crist had to do was reverse every single public position he ever had; a simple enough task for Crist.  Now Florida is a purple state trending blue. Obama won the state twice, but Florida also put in a Tea Party backed Republican governor, Rick Scott, in 2010.  How can that be?

Florida’s governor’s race is on what are nationally off year elections.  Although nationally this is an off year election since no President is on the ballot, in Florida, we elect governors.  Since the turn out for off year elections tends to run older, whiter, and more Republican, it’s no surprise that Florida gets a bit schizophrenic, turning red and electing a Tea party backed governor and senator (Marco Rubio) during off year elections like 2010, and re-electing President Obama and Democratic senator Bill Nelson during a Presidential election year.

So this year, it’s an off year election.  Now if you were a high rolling Democratic fundraiser and player, and had your employee running for governor, a man with no convictions at all, ready to serve and obey you, how could you increase Democratic turnout to get your guy over the top?  Let’s see, what would be an issue that might draw out young people and get them to the polls during an off year election that most of them have no real interest in?

I guess it’s a real head scratcher.

 

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Florida’s Medical Marijuana Amendment a Dopey Idea

  1. Pingback: Florida’s Medical Marijuana Amendment a Dopey Idea

  2. I object to your position on back pain. I have never smoked mj and probably never would because of the horrible memories it would bring back of people I used to love. However, there are sometimes when in pain, I have begged for ANYTHING that could relieve the pain. It gets so bad it hurts to breath or close your eyes. There is nothing worse and I’m not the only one out there looking for help.

    Like

    • I do think back pain is real. I’ve had it myself so I’m sympathetic, But back pain often cannot be diagnosised by either X-Rays, lab work, or examination, so much of the time back pain is used as a catch all diagnosis to get pain medication. Florida used to be the nation’s capital of pill mills; clinics set up for the sole purpose of providing pain medication to people who may not have been on the up and up as to their reasons for wanting pain pills. Since doctors are not exactly clamoring for pot in their arsenal of pain medications, I don’t think the intent of “medical marijuana” has anything to do with people like yourself who are in real pain.

      Like

  3. I can’t help but enjoy the irony of seeing marijuana gaining social acceptance while tobacco use is being regulated, taxed and demonized out of existence. I only hope I live long enough to see “Big Pot” being attacked by ravenous packs of trial lawyers.

    Like

    • I agree that it’s quite the irony that in an age when tobacco is becoming criminalized and large sodas are a crime in some areas, pot is enjoying a liberation. I guess the next step is to ban butter and legalize oxycodone.

      Like

  4. Personally, I’d like to see Marijuana legalized nationwide, but it will never happen.

    Morgan has been trying to sell this amendment for a while in Florida. I come down there every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas and I’ve been hearing those ads for at least the last three years or so. I just got back from a couple of weeks in Naples and it seemed to me the ad buys had ramped up.

    Like

  5. Back when I was in college (1990s) there were still stories circulating about the good ole days when students would smoke pot in lecture halls. I must be stodgy and uptight because try as I might, I see little good from the legalization of pot other than increased tax revenue (which the govt will waste anyway) and perhaps budget savings for the police force. But even with a “legal” pot trade there will still be an underground one willing to use any tactic necessary…

    You’re correct that these laws are neither here nor there, sort of like our immigration laws that are on paper, but never enforced.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s