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Friday, Oct 24, 2014
Douglas MacKinnon Columns

Greed merchants growing like weeds around Amendment 2

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As has been said, sometimes the only causes worth fighting for are the lost ones.

Stopping the passage of Amendment 2 — the medical marijuana initiative — seems to be one of those causes. The growing forces pushing for its legalization have the momentum and are already making plans to divide the spoils of war.

Make no mistake, while those seeking its passage cite altruistic reasons, the majority are motivated by their desire to make money, their desire to get high, or both. If it somehow helps some truly ill people, well, that's just a nice bonus.

This — at the moment — losing battle is but one more example of the fact that those Americans who still believe in traditional values, the rule of law, secure borders, smaller government, fiscal responsibility and personal accountability are becoming the silent minority in a nation they no longer recognize. Like ancient Rome, we are witnessing the fall of what was once the greatest nation on Earth, and those pushing for this law can make the transition into anarchy fast enough.

Voices of reason no longer matter. Instead, they are to be mocked and belittled to hasten the desired results. A case in point on this issue being the statement just released by the Florida Medical Association, an organization representing more than 20,000 doctors. The FMA said, “Providing compassionate care to our patients is something we do every day. We believe the unintended consequences of Amendment 2 are serious and numerous enough for us to believe they constitute a public health risk for Floridians.”

The leadership of the FMA voted unanimously to oppose the amendment for the most rational of medical reasons and yet their argument is being dismissed or ignored as white noise by those desperate to profit from this drug. The voices of these doctors seeking to protect the health of you and your family are being drowned out by trial lawyers, in-state pot “entrepreneurs” and out-of-state interests infiltrating Florida like uncontrollable weeds.

Said one politician in Tallahassee about the “green rush” stampede of greed: “None of these folks have come to us and said I have an interest in helping kids with pediatric intractable epilepsy. This is all about what they can get for themselves, not for helping patients.”

If and when Amendment 2 does pass, the worst is yet to come.

If Colorado is any example — and it serves as the poster child for all that can go wrong — a flourishing black market is sure to follow the passage of Amendment 2. The taxes imposed on legal medical marijuana create all kinds of openings for home-growers and others who will work overtime to illegally beat the system and deliver a cheaper product.

Beyond that coming reality, should anyone care to look, dangerous parallels can be found between Big Tobacco and Big Marijuana. As highlighted in The New England Journal of Medicine, the pot industry is diligently following the blueprint of Big Tobacco by continually increasing the potency of its product while creating new delivery systems to make it more addictive and drive up the profit margin.

Unfortunately, like its role model in tobacco, smoked marijuana continues to increase mortality rates, whether the deaths are from vehicular crashes, suicide or respiratory disease, according to the Journal.

And the nonfatal adverse effects eclipse the fatal effects.

Despite the negatives — lethal and otherwise — with less than three months to go before Floridians go to the polls to vote on this amendment, stopping it looks like a lost cause. But until the polls close, there is always hope that 41 percent will square off against the trial lawyers, well-funded politicians, in-state pot merchants and out-of-state hucksters and say, “Not in my state.”

If not, the slippery slope becomes a mudslide covering all in its path.

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