Just say ‘No’ or ‘Yes’ – to marijuana?

From the Westside Editorial Board (WEB)

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 and before, voters will be casting their vote Yes or NO on Amendment 2 which legalizes medical marijuana. Of course no one wants to see family or friends suffer. But is this a “SMOKE SCREEN?” No pun intended! Is Amendment 2 much too broad? Will this Amendment open the flood gates to loopholes for increased marijuana use among our children and misuse and abuse by illegal drug users?

Every voter must clear away the SMOKE SCREEN and peep through a clear looking glass and ask the real questions. Are we really looking at the consequences that Amendment 2 has on our youth — the adverse effects of pot smoking, especially on adolescents’ mental, emotional and physical health?  Do you really believe legalizing medical marijuana will have a positive impact on illegal marijuana use?  Is there even enough evidence to support the benefits of long term use of marijuana?  Do you believe that we need to strengthen the regulations before we approve Amendment 2?  Is marijuana a drug that is approved by the FDA?  Are you okay with your children or grandchildren using marijuana?

We must be mindful that this drug and its usage can be medical to some, recreational to others and offensive to many.  With the billions of dollars spent for research on various conditions, all of a sudden the main prescription that has been introduced is now rolled up in a joint?

The Amendment appears to be benign, compassionate and even helpful in curving the tide of criminal arrest for marijuana.  But let’s examine the facts in a “Pro-Con” method of discussion:

PRO: Medical marijuana would help patients who have a debilitating disease.

CON:  The language in the Amendment is too vague.  It lists Cancer, glaucoma, HIV,  multiple sclerosis and “OTHER CONDITIONS.”  These “other conditions” leaves a humongous loophole that will be exploited and abused.  We need to close the loopholes by changing the language before, Not after the Amendment is approved. Because once it is approved we are “stuck in a smoke screen.”

PRO:  Minorities are disproportionately criminalized for illegal possession of marijuana. This will keep minorities from going to jail for marijuana possession.

CON:  This is the thickest “SMOKE SCREEN” circulating.  The Laws of the State of Florida are still the same.  We believe that more Minorities will go to jail because of the ambiguity of Amendment 2. Some may falsely believe that marijuana is legal and DUI’s and possession charges won’t be prosecuted. False!  This false thinking will lead to more, not less, criminal arrest for marijuana possession and DUI type offenses.

PRO:  Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical marijuana. It must be a good thing.

CON:  Most other states have spotted potential problems with the law and worded the language in their Amendments to close loopholes and have a closed list of treatable conditions and require approval by a state agency. Most other states have carefully crafted laws and regulations to avoid potential problems in misuse and abuse.

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