The right to Medical Marijuana or Amendment 2 would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Florida under certain conditions. You would have to be a patient or caregiver with an issued license by a physician and you could also attend registered medical marijuana treatment centers (www.ballotpedia.org 2014). Not just anyone can get a medical marijuana license though. Individuals must be diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” such as cancer, glaucoma or HIV. The Florida Department of Health would have the responsibility of regulating medical marijuana and it would issue identification cards and develop procedures for treatment centers. In the following passages I will discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana, how poor people can obtain it and how I feel about the legalization of medical marijuana and amendment 2.
Medical marijuana has many benefits such as relieving symptoms that other drugs like Xanax can at a fortune of the price. The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as cancer and AIDS in patients worldwide (www.medicalmarijuana.procon.org 2014). Sanjay Gupta, MD, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN mentioned that marijuana doesn’t have a high potential for abuse and there are very legitimate applications. Also “sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works”, says Gupta. Arthritis is a very common disease with no current cure and marijuana has been proven to help alleviate the symptoms of this disease as well. Rheumatology reported in 2006 that “In comparison with the placebo, the CBM [cannabis-based medicine] produced statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest and quality of sleep (www.medicalmarijuana.procon.org). Although there are several legitimate health benefits of medical marijuana, there are still those who disagree and believe legalizing it would be detrimental to society.
Critics who oppose Amendment 2 and the use of medical marijuana think it may be harmful to society by increasing crime. Bishop Ron Allen claimed that marijuana would increase crime and poverty in Berkeley and he explains, “Research tells us that marijuana has the same effects on the pleasure central system in the brain as heroin and crack cocaine.” (www.opposingviews.com 2014) Others like Mason Tvert, of the Marijuana Policy Project disagree with Bishop Allen, saying he didn’t know what he was talking about and marijuana has been proven to be less toxic and less addictive. “The fact is that Medical associations across the country and more than 80% of Americans think marijuana can help seriously ill people (www.opposingviews.com) says Tvert.” A study conducted by the University of Texas at Dallas found that legalized marijuana may reduce crimes like robbery and homicide (Ferner 2014).
Another possible downfall to the use of marijuana is that it may be a gateway or stepping stone to other harmful drugs such as cocaine. The Eagle Forum stated that “Since THC is continually in the body the “high” from pot gradually diminishes so pot smokers usually take other drugs to get a kick (www.medicalmarijuana.procon.org).” Sue Rosche, Founder and President of the National Families in Action says, “This issue received intense press coverage and California’s teenagers got the message, their past month marijuana use increased by approximately 1/3 that year, from 6.5% to 9.2% according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. It’s still continuing to rise: 1997-6.8%, 1998-7.4, and 1999-8.4%. Even if the use of marijuana continues to rise and it is legalized, how will the poor people obtain access to it?
The City of Berkeley, California recently announced a new law in which medical marijuana dispensaries will have to donate 2% of their cannabis to low-income people beginning in August of next year (www.opposingviews.com). I believe this is a great law that other states like Florida can incorporate to regulate to use of medical marijuana if they decide to legalize it. With the donation law, poor people can gain access to the medical marijuana they need which is known to sell for at least $400 an ounce in California. This price is only the street value of the plant-form (what you smoke) of medical marijuana, other forms such as liquid or extracted may cost more. The most important part about state regulation is that poor individuals with “debilitating medical conditions” will have a way to obtain the medical marijuana they need to alleviate their health symptoms.
With all the credible facts that prove the amazing benefits of medical marijuana, I agree and stand firm with the legalization of marijuana. I have a grandmother who has epilepsy seizures and if a dose of prescribed medical marijuana will help her to feel better, why not give her or other patients dosages by pill? The Epilepsy Foundation issued a statement this year that supported the rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician-directed care, including medical marijuana (www.opposingviews.com). There is no evidence of anyone dying from marijuana and my research concluded mostly benefits. Weighing out the good health benefits of medical marijuana and the fact that poor people may have a way to obtain it, gives the state of Florida all the facts and reasons it needs to legalize marijuana.
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Real Estate Investor & Internet Marketer
1. www.ballotpedia.org “Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2 (2014) Ballotpedia
2. www.medicalmarijuana.procon.org October 2014 ProCon.org
3. www.opposingviews.com “Bishop Ron Allen Claims Medical Marijuana Will Increase Crime Poverty” 4 Sept. 2014 Opposing Views
4. Ferner, M. “Legalizing Medical Marijuana May Actually Reduce Crime, Study Says” Huffington Post www.huffingtonpost.com 27 March 2014