Should Medical Marijuana Be Legalized? By: Larry Lawton

questionQuestion:  Should medical marijuana be legalized in Florida for medical purposes? Florida’s Amendment 2.

Answer: The right choice is voting YES on Amendment 2READ BELOW

The Reality Check Program is all about helping teens and adults make the right choices. The views expressed here are from Larry Lawton, Founder and President of the Reality Check Program and author of Gangster Redemption.

The RCP deals with teens and young adults on a daily basis who are going through a lot of problems because of minor marijuana arrests. A record, fines, court costs, time away from work, etc., and this creates more problems.  It is a snowball rolling down a hill. Law Enforcement needs to deal with more serious issues. Heroin, Oxycontin, Molly, Xanax, Acid, etc. NOT MARIJUANA.

medical marijuana emblemHarassing young people with minor marijuana actually creates problems, doesn’t solve them. When a cop comes up to a car and feels he has to arrest someone for minor marijuana (like a joint) he is then escalating the situation. That is especially true when a cop stops a car with young minorities. The young minority person feels like the white guy got away with it and they are being harassed. Are they? I am sure at times they are. Why escalate a situation when you don’t have to.

Marijuana is totally legal in two other states and medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and DC.

We have people in our jails and prisons for marijuana and that is sad. There are way too many studies showing marijuana doesn’t increase crime. What marijuana arrests do for police agencies is make them money. Jails stay full, forfeiture funds increase, “drug” arrest statistics look good, etc. A police agency should be judged on fewer arrests and more community policing, NOT how many arrests they make. The police need to worry about the serious stuff. Heroin, Oxycontin, Molly, Xanax, Acid, etc. When they do that, everyone wins.

TO Protect & Serve – Lets look at that. Protect – Are you really protecting people from marijuana? Serve – Means ALL THE PEOPLE.

The right choice is voting YES on Amendment 2.

FROM BALLOTPEDIA

The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in the state of Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would legalize medical marijuana. Specifically, the measure would guarantee the following:

  • That medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under state law.
  • That a licensed physician is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions for issuing medical marijuana to a person diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” under state law.
  • That registered medical marijuana treatment centers are not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under state law.

The measure defines a “debilitating medical condition” as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease “or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

The Florida Department of Health would be responsible for regulating medical marijuana. The department would issue and regulate patient identification cards and personal caregiver identification cards, develop procedures related to medical marijuana treatment centers and institute regulations defining reasonable amounts of marijuana for medical use. The department would be required to protect the confidentiality of all patients.

The constitutional amendment contains six limitations on how the amendment’s language can be construed:

  • The amendment does not “affect laws relating to non-medical use, possession, production or sale of marijuana.”
  • The amendment does not authorize “the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient.”
  • The amendment does not allow for the “operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under the influence of marijuana.”
  • The amendment does not require accommodations for medical marijuana use “in any place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.”
  • The amendment does not require “any health insurance provider or any government agency or authority to reimburse any person for expenses related to the medical use of marijuana.”
  • The amendment does not require “the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.”

Supporters of Amendment 2 say the measure will help people with debilitating medical conditions. Opponents, on the other hand, argue the amendment is “de facto legalization” of marijuana.

Larry Lawton

Larry Lawton

Larry Lawton