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Vote ‘yes’ for medical marijuana

July 31, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

Medical Marijuana defined by Amendment 2 on our November ballot, is good for Florida.

It is not true that there are "loopholes" or that the Amendment is "too vague". In fact, the Amendment is extremely clear and specific.

Amendment 2 on our Ballot in November contains two important and clearly defined issues.

First, Amendment 2 clearly defines that our legislature may not come between a patient and doctor in the decision if marijuana will be a safe and effective treatment. This protects the rights of doctors and patients, not politicians, to decide if it is safe and effective. Ballot initiatives are limited to 75 words and could not begin to cover all of the ailments that may benefit from medical marijuana.

Second, Amendment 2 clearly states that all of the laws and regulations that cover caregivers, growing and selling, financials, testing, and anything else will be written by the Department of Health and the Florida Legislature. How can the law be "vague" when it clearly says that the laws are yet to be written? Lawmakers and the Department of Health are given six months to enact the first set of regulations with no limit for additional regulations in the future. Amendment initiatives change our Constitution, not write legislation. It would be impossible to include all of the laws and regulations in a Constitutional Amendment that is limited to 75 words.

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Over 20 other states have allowed Medical Marijuana to be used providing over a decade of history to show the lack of negative impacts. Florida has done its own study to show that the "Pill Mill" effect is not likely with medical marijuana.

Medical journals continue to point out the danger of long-term use of opiate based pain killers (Percocet, OxyContin and others) of misuse and addiction. Long-term pain can often be controlled better with less-addictive medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana contains a unique mix of cannabinoids that vary by plant strain to be used for a variety of ailments. Marijuana has a much lower incidence of addictiveness and fewer side effects than prescription pain killers and antidepressants. While a low-THC version was legalized in Florida for a limited group of ailments, the higher THC strains are useful for a wider variety of diseases.

Psychological problems like PTSD, Anxiety and Depression also have studies showing the usefulness of Medical Marijuana and the lower side effects compared to current prescription drugs.

Employers will still be able to require drug tests and drugged driving will still remain illegal. Many states have improved their testing for "drugged driving" and are getting more OxyContin and Percocet drivers off of our roads too. Studies have shown an 8-11 percent drop in drunk driving deaths in states with Medical Marijuana.

Pot pushers who sell to anyone, including children, will be replaced with controlled dispensaries.

As a Combat Veteran I must stand up for my military brothers and sisters who have found that medical marijuana helps their PTSD and other ailments they received for serving our country. In other countries research has been going on for decades on the benefits of medical marijuana for dozens of conditions. Instead of comparing it to alcohol, we should compare it to the addictive and side-effect prone prescription drugs it can replace.

Please vote Yes on Amendment 2 on your November Ballot

Jim Roach

Candidate for State Representative District 77

Cape Coral



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