In less than one month, Florida will decide if medical marijuana should be legal. Amendment 2 on the ballot "allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician." This proposal amends our state's constitution which requires a super-majority of at least 60 percent of the vote. Currently, the issue is polling at an average of sixty-eight percent. So the question lingers like a roach in an ashtray: should we legalize medical marijuana?
This issue is conflicting. Almost everyone I know smokes marijuana. The drug serves purposes, both medicinally and for recreation. The libertarian streak in me does not think the government should control what we put into our own bodies, especially in the privacy of our homes. Furthermore, the current laws around marijuana feel barbaric. No one should be arrested for possessing, cultivating or distributing marijuana. It's a victimless crime. To fill our jails with marijuana users is a waste of resources and a travesty of justice. Weed should be decriminalized and reduced to paying a fine. But that's not the issue. The issue here is legalizing medical marijuana.
You'd have to be inhumane to not have empathy for people battling severe diseases, like epilepsy or cancer -- and if these people require marijuana as the only means necessary to ease their pain they should absolutely be afforded that option. But guess what? These patients will have that option in Florida. It's called Charlotte's Web and the governor (who I will not be voting for) signed it into law in July. It goes into effect January 1st, 2015 and is basically a more regulated form of medical marijuana.
Is Charlotte's Web that bad??
As far as Amendment 2 stands now, the law is very broad and promises to basically open up a floodgate of marijuana clinics and growers. And come on, we all know that if you want to get your hands on a medical marijuana card it will be as easy as walking into a store. It'll be like California, like in Venice Beach, where girls in bikinis stand outside clinics with signs inviting anyone and everyone in so you can obtain a prescription from a doctor and then go next door to the marijuana dispensary.
We're talking Florida here. There isn't a state in the union with more fly-by-nighters, get-rich-quick reprobates, scallywags, and peddlers of fraud, abuse and mismanagement. You really think medical marijuana will not be abused in Florida? Come on. After years of neglecting "pill-mills" which killed or ruined the lives of thousands of people, now we want to open up the same sort of system.
To be fair, marijuana is a false equivalency compared to pill-mills.
Marijuana never killed anyone.
In fact, medical marijuana should probably be legal: morally, economically, socially, medicinally; but should it be legal in the state that commits the most fraud in the country. How come it's not legal in New York, Massachusetts or Pennsylvania? Or any Southern state? In addition, regulating this will be a logistical nightmare, especially in Florida where Republicans control Tallahassee. As far as I understand, after speaking with friends who've been fighting for this issue for years, there's no clear-cut answer as to who will be allowed to sell it, or, who will be allowed to grow it. As far as I understand, all of these regulations will be created and enforced by the state legislature, of which the majority is against this even happening. This means there will likely be countless lawsuits and gridlock and just a mess.
This issue is truly a tough one.
Florida is trying so hard to evolve out of this fun-in-the-sun, Cocaine Cowboys, eat-a-roofie, pop-a-molly, party destination. And we've come far. How on earth can legalizing medical marijuana (in such a broad manner) help our cultural growth?
There's no question, Amendment 2 will lead to more marijuana use; it will lead to people driving under the influence; it will slow us down; it will spin us out; it will make us a joke. Yet on the other hand, it's just weed, an herb, a natural tranquilizer. How can a case of the munchies and the giggles be that bad? And that's assuming it will be abused by people who don't really need it, which, come-on, it will be.
As conflicted as this issue is, I'll probably vote for it, just so it could potentially lead to decriminalization. But still, will it pass anyway? Despite polling at 68 percent, there is a lot of voter apathy in the air, and if you are counting on getting stoners to the polls, good luck -- you'll need it. But, hey, if it does pass, it will hardly be the end of the world.
Shucks, I'll even take a hit from the bong out-of-respect for the victory, especially in the name of all those who will stay out of jail for the new law. But don't listen to me.
To gain a full perspective on this issue, click here to make up your own mind.