Amendment 2 or the right to Medical Marijuana would make the use of medical marijuana legal under certain health conditions. Patients or caregivers with an issued license by a physician would also be allowed to attend registered marijuana treatment centers (Ballotpedia 2014). Not just anyone can get a medical marijuana license though. Individuals must be diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” such as cancer, HIV or glaucoma. The Florida Department of Health would be responsible for regulating medical marijuana and it would also issue identification cards and develop procedures for treatment centers. In the following passages I will discuss the pros and cons of marijuana, how poor people can obtain it if they can’t afford it and how I personally feel about amendment 2 and the legalization of marijuana.
Medical marijuana has many health benefits such as relieving chronic pain due to an illness or relieving stress after a long or busy day. The evidence is proven by research that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting, and other debilitating symptoms caused by such illnesses as cancer and AIDS in patients all around the globe (ProCon 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”, said Gupta. Arthritis is another common disease, usually in older adults, 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 (ProCon 2014). Although there are several legitimate benefits of medical marijuana, there are still those who disagree and argue that the legalization of medical marijuana would be harmful to society.
The ones who are against Amendment 2 and the legal use of marijuana argue it may be detrimental to society by causing an increase in 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.” (OpposingViews 2014) Supporters of marijuana like Mason Tvert, of the Marijuana Policy Project disagree with Allen, stating that Allen didn’t know what he was talking about and marijuana has been proven to be less toxic and less addictive than other drugs. “The fact is that Medical associations across the country and more than 80% of Americans think marijuana can help seriously ill people (Opposing Views) states 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 downfall of marijuana is that it is said to be a gateway or stepping stone to other harmful drugs such as cocaine or heroine. The Eagle Forum mentioned in a statement 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 (ProCon 2014).” 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 nearly one-third 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 households obtain it if they can’t afford it?
The City of Berkeley, Calif. recently announced a new law in which marijuana dispensaries will have to donate 2% of their cannabis to low-income people starting in August of next year (OpposingViews). This could be a good law that other states like Florida can use to regulate to use of marijuana if they do decide to make it legal. With the donation law, poor individuals can get access to the 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, so other forms such as liquid or extracted may cost more. The most important part about state regulation is that poor families with “debilitating medical conditions” will have a way to obtain the medical marijuana they need to alleviate their symptoms.
With all the factual evidence pointing to the amazing benefits of medical marijuana, I agree and vote yes on amendment 2 which will legalize medical marijuana. I have a grandmother who has epilepsy seizures and if a dose of prescribed marijuana will help alleviate her or any other patient’s symptoms, why not give her or other patients dosages by pill? The Epilepsy Foundation released a statement earlier this year that supported the rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician-directed care, including marijuana (OpposingViews). There is no factual evidence of anyone dying from marijuana and my research concluded mostly positive benefits.
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Weighing out the benefits of medical marijuana and the fact that poor households may have a way to obtain it, gives the state of Florida all the reasons and factual evidence it needs to legalize marijuana.