Medicinal marijuana debated at Suncoast Tiger Bay club
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06/04/14 Ashley Whitney
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: marijuana, medical marijuana, Tiger Bay, St. Petersburg, drugs, Florida, Constitution

Is Medical Marijuana an illicit drug? If Florida voters approve Amendment Two in November, will the Department of Health be able to regulate its distribution, and what consequences will Floridians suffer if loopholes in its legislation arise? Members of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club gathered in St. Petersburg Wednesday to ask these questions.

Lana Beck of the Drug Free America Foundation opposes the amendment.

“But I’d like to leave you with just asking if you would please read the amendment, please take your time to read the amendment before you vote, because I think that if you read it and you look at what it says, you will see that it is much more about creating an entire industry that has ironclad protections than it is about helping sick people. And I want to remind you that we do have a compromise here in Florida, we have several compromises.

"Again, we have FDA approved medication with components that contain cannabinoids, already available; there’s more coming and there’s clinical trials. We have the low THC extract Bill that is coming. Its on the governors desk for signature, its passed both the House and the Senate, and the governor said he would sign it. And we have that affirmative defense law here in Florida that protects patients and plus I was at an event with the sheriff, and he says, 'I can guarantee we are not going and knocking on patients doors and arrested them, we just don’t have the resources for dealing with marijuana.' I want you remember that this amendment was not written by doctors, and that the Florida Medical Association has taken a position against it. Please just be an informed voter.”

Cassandra Akanu from the Students for Sensible Drug Policy, supports adding medical marijuana to the Florida constitution.

“One thing I would like to say in closing is that we are in a situation in Florida where our medical system has brought us to a point where we do have things like pill mills and that is at the front of everybody’s mind as the thing to avoid. At the end of the day, the fact that we do, we still prescribe hydrocodone, oxycodon and drugs that are highly addictive, and can cause drug overdose, and we have not stopped doing that, and have only tried to mitigate the negative affects of them, shows that having medical marijuana and having an alternative to these drugs that we know do not work for everyone, and can not bring pain relief for everyone, and can not be used on everyone.

"It just means that doctor’s will be able to finally use the full breadth of their medical knowledge to prescribe these to patients. Twenty-one states, as well as the District of Columbia have affective State medical marijuana laws, and have half of them accomplished this with the popular vote of the people just like we will be doing later this year. As such we finally have the opportunity to finally be on pace with half of our country with the medicinal practice that has brought healing the lives, for historically over five-thousand years and along that time has been proven in over twenty-thousand medical studies. Thank you.”

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