TBO.com, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
Columnists

Medical pot: Floridians focus on suffering, not politics

Published:

It’s been a long, hard road, but proponents of the citizens’ initiative to place medical marijuana on the Florida ballot in November got some good news. The Florida Supreme Court, on a close, 4-3 vote, approved the wording of the ballot initiative.

Why was the Supreme Court reviewing the wording? The Florida Legislature requires all attempts by citizens to modify their state constitution to jump through many hurdles, the last of which is to have the court review the wording of the initiative and its title to ensure that they are not misleading.

Constitutional changes initiated by the Legislature enjoy an easier path to the ballot.

So the review by the Supreme Court was just a routine matter?

Not exactly.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz expressed their desire that the Supreme Court reject the language, claiming the ballot summary and title are misleading.

Some even filed legal briefs arguing against it.

The title? “Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.” Oh, my goodness! What does that mean? I’m so confused.

Could it possibly mean that those suffering from debilitating illnesses might be able to finally gain relief from their pain and nausea, as they can in 20 other states?

I recognize that it’s not as easy to understand as those proposals put forth by the Legislature in 2012. For example, there was the straightforward, clear and concise legislative proposal titled “Property Tax Limitations; Property Value Decline; Reduction for Nonhomestead Assessment Increases; Delay of Scheduled Repeal.”

It’s certainly understandable that the governor, attorney general and Legislature would want to protect the voters from confusion and being misled by the medical marijuana ruse.

In fact, we all know it’s nothing more than a devious plan. Not only is it the camel’s nose under the tent leading to full-fledged decriminalization of marijuana, it would likely lead to all drugs being legalized. That’s right — crack, crank and heroin will all be available at the corner store.

And don’t forget who is pushing this. John Morgan! You know, John Morgan, the ruthless trial lawyer from Orlando who put millions of his own money into the effort to get the initiative on the ballot.

Any thinking person would have to question his motives. After all, he is a close friend of Charlie Crist, and if this amendment were on the ballot, then it would be certain to attract young voters and more liberal voters who are usually unreliable in showing up at the polls. This would help his buddy Charlie regain the governorship.

Aha! Great plan. Absolutely brilliant! Crist’s election is all but assured.

And it only cost $4 million to get it on the ballot and another couple of mil for legal fees and the advertising campaign. That makes so much more sense than simply putting the $6 million or so into Crist’s political committee for a get-out-the-vote effort.

And we’re not buying that nonsense that Morgan is doing this because he watched his father suffer, and he had to circumvent the law to illegally obtain marijuana to help manage his dad’s pain and loss of appetite.

He wants to help other people assist their loved ones without breaking the law? Really? Does he think we’re that gullible?

But there’s more. He’s probably going to make millions by going after those who will legally be selling marijuana when this passes.

That’s right, since it will be legal, he’s going after them. That’s what people smarter than me are saying. I read it on the Internet.

Thank goodness his twisted thinking and selfish actions have been exposed.

Now, let’s be clear. Those who are trying to protect us from ourselves and who have deciphered the subterfuge are very sympathetic to those who are suffering. They helpfully point out that many lives have been ruined by alcohol, and there is the real danger of being killed by drunken drivers.

And don’t forget our problems with pill mills and the resulting addiction and overdosing deaths of those on pain pills like oxycontin.

Of course, those substances will still be available, but marijuana is just too dangerous.

It’s staggering that so many Floridians have been duped.

In public opinion polling, 82 percent of Floridians support legalizing medical marijuana. The majority of Democrats, independents and, yes, Republicans, all support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and trust doctors to prescribe it.

It seems that they are focusing on those suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, unbearable pain, debilitating nausea and life-threatening appetite loss.

Isn’t it time our political leaders do the same?

Paula Dockery is a syndicated columnist who served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years as a Republican from Lakeland. She can be reached at PBDockery@gmail.com.

Comments