Early voting begins today in 50 of Florida’s 67 counties! To find your county’s early voting dates and locations click here. We encourage you to visit FloridaElectionCentral.com before heading to the polls, for information about the candidates and amendments.
CRITICAL FACTS YOU NEED KNOW ABOUT AMENDMENT 2 “MEDICAL MARIJUANA”
We agree there is a real need to help people suffering with debilitating medical conditions and to alleviate pain. However, the goal of Amendment 2 is not to help the sick, but to create a constitutional right to grow, sell, and consume pot.
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Amendment 2 claims to be about legalizing just medical marijuana, but its wording amounts to the de-facto legalization of pot in Florida.
Prominent and well-respected groups such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Epilepsy Society, Florida Medical Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Farm Bureau, Florida Baptist Convention, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Family Coalition and Florida Family Action, among others are publicly opposing Amendment 2. Elected officials (both Republican and Democrat) have also urged a no vote on 2. And at least five former Florida Supreme Court Justices oppose Amendment 2.
Amendment 2 is bad policy for Florida. Here are five critical reasons why we believe you should VOTE NO on Amendment 2:
1. FLORIDA ALREADY HAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA
The Florida Legislature already legalized medical marijuana. In fact, TWO different laws are actively in effect today. In 2014, Florida passed “Charlotte’s Web” allowing the use of low-THC (non-euphoric) marijuana by those suffering from cancer, seizures or severe muscle spasms and for whom no other treatment has proven effective.
In 2015, Florida’s “Right to Try Act” was amended to include medical marijuana, allowing patients with terminal conditions to access the drug without FDA approval. We recognize the real need to help people suffering with debilitating medical conditions and to alleviate pain. We believe these two EXISTING laws properly provide for these situations and that Amendment 2 is completely unnecessary.
2. FLORIDA DOES NOT NEED 2,000 POT SHOPS
If this amendment passes, within the first year approximately 2,000 “pot shops” will spring up around the state (according to estimates from Florida’s Department of Health.) This is twice the number of McDonald’s restaurants in the state of Florida.
3. ALLOWING THE SALE OF UNSAFE “EDIBLES” PUTS CHILDREN AT RISK
Amendment 2 legalizes marijuana foods (edible products laced with marijuana) which will include cookies, candies, and “pot-tarts.” These are obviously enticing to children, and in “medical” marijuana states like California, children are being rushed to the ER after unknowingly consuming marijuana in the form of candy.
States where medical marijuana is legal have been shown to have higher rates of calls to poison-control centers and ER visits by children under 9 years of age for unintentional marijuana exposure. Edible products have also caused deaths in Colorado.
4. AMENDMENT 2 WOULD PROHIBIT REGULATION OF THE POT INDUSTRY
Amendment 2 ties the hands of our elected representatives to respond to its inevitable unintended consequences. Because it grants a fundamental “constitutional right” to sell, purchase and consume marijuana, the Florida Legislature and other state regulatory bodies would be unable to pass common-sense legislation to correct problems with the amendment’s outcomes. Instead, another constitutional amendment will be necessary, a very lengthy and costly process.
This is not an issue appropriate for a Constitution, a document intended for fundamental rights and the structure of government. Florida has an unfortunate history of placing policy issues in our state Constitution – like fish net bans, pregnant pig regulations and others. The bottom line is this: drugs should not be permanently enshrined in Florida’s Constitution.
5. INCREASED POTENCY LEVELS MEAN INCREASED HEALTH RISKS
Marijuana would not be dispensed at pharmacies with a doctor’s prescription. Instead, it would be sold by what the marijuana industry refers to as “budtenders,” with NO medical training or clinical experience required.
Further, Amendment 2 does not regulate the strength or potency of the marijuana being used. In Colorado, THC levels have increased from around 15% to more than 20%, and levels in extracted hashish or concentrates can reportedly reach 90%. There have been increased public safety incidences and the CDC warns of the “potential danger.” There is no standard amount, quality or limit to the pot that may be contained in an edible. As in other states, the wide range of marijuana products available and their increased potency would have serious public health implications for Florida.
A printable version of our “Five Critical Reasons to VOTE NO on Amendment 2” and other free voter guide resources (Candidates, Amendments, Judges, Local Races) are available at FloridaElectionCentral.com.
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