Last week’s blog summarized the mess our Federal government agencies have created on marijuana over almost the last two decades. If the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the FDA would have properly researched marijuana for medical use, which Congress has given them latitude to do, the State of Florida would not be facing a foolishly worded medical marijuana amendment for a public vote created by multi-millionaire attorney John Morgan.
It is not too late to bring a rational approach for marijuana to the citizens of Florida. Scientific data supports medical marijuana, but not a carte blanche amendment with few controls for distribution.
Recent negative polling data indicates Governor Scott needs to create leadership on the marijuana issue. Scott’s silence on marijuana or outright opposing the amendment without an alternative policy in place will be political suicide in the coming November election. In the last election, Mitt Romney proved that Florida will not vote solely on economic issues and Obama won Florida.
The challenge is to properly manage medical marijuana moving into the future. A carefully worded law covering cancer, terminally ill, HIV, and MS patients makes sense until our Federal government decides to fund research on the plant. A concise and compassionate law for those most in need of help while avoiding the indiscriminate distribution of marijuana by unscrupulous doctors that has occurred in other states should come from the 2014 legislature.
With Democratic opponent Charlie Crist locked into John Morgan’s loosely worded amendment, Governor Scott has a prime opportunity to be the common sense leader on an important social issue.
The marijuana issue is a true test of Governor Rick Scott’s commitment to the business leaders and citizens in our state.
Rational and compassionate voters will support a rational and compassionate medical marijuana program.
At this late stage, the legalization of marijuana is not the prime issue. It is how are we going to manage the drug moving into the future?
I hope Governor Scott and his fellow Republican legislators respond to the issue. It would be the equivalent of an ostrich hiding his head in the sand if the political Republican pundits don’t believe the marijuana amendment is going to be a pivotal issue in the November election.