Florida - Extreme Rhetoric In Medical Marijuana Debate Obscures Real People Affected

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He arrived nonchalantly late, the way any good rock star should. Famed attorney John Morgan sized up the other Amendment 2 panelists on the high school stage in Lakeland, and then quickly made his way to greet Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. The crowd waved signs, their voices thundered, and the evening had the emotional charge of a pep rally instead of a medical marijuana forum.

Meanwhile, Cathy Jordan sat in a wheelchair near her husband, Bob, in the first row. The frivolity of the crowd was not lost on either of them. This topic may be a political game to some, but it is deadly serious to the Jordans of Parrish. Cathy suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), and marijuana is the only medicine that has provided a tangible respite for her.

So they have happily followed supporters of Amendment 2 (Morgan), they have cringed while listening to opponents (Judd), and they have sat in stunned silence as less-invested parties have debated this hot-button issue. "I listen to these people and I think, 'They don't see it, they don't understand it, they don't live it.' They have their studies, but it's really just their opinions,'' Bob Jordan said. "They call us anecdotal evidence. Yeah, well she ain't anecdotal to me. She's my wife.''

We are five weeks away from a decision on Amendment 2, a ballot issue that would legalize medical marijuana, and the rhetoric is growing extreme. Morgan was caught in a profane appeal to young voters in a bar after the Lakeland debate last month, and the political committee Vote No On 2 has released an audacious commercial that draws parallels between caregivers and drug dealers.

Somewhere along the line, it seems, the issue has been overtaken by the hype. So it is not enough to say the wording of Amendment 2 is too broad and might have unintended consequences. Instead, opponents scream that it is a ruse to put marijuana in the hands of children. And it is not enough to say that already legalized forms of cannabis do not have the same results for all patients. Instead, supporters suggest those who do not support expanded medicinal use are all in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies.

The truth is, there may be no definitive right or wrong. It's a serious issue in need of more reasoned debate than we've recently seen. Personally, I believe the benefits outweigh the potential downside. And I think many of the arguments against the amendment border on hysteria. Lawmakers had years to address this issue themselves so they have no right to cry now about the wording being put in the hands of voters.

But I know reasonable, intelligent and passionate people who disagree. It doesn't mean they're wrong. To me, it just suggests the argument is complex. That is why I come back to the patients. To the parents, spouses and loved ones who have more at stake than many of us will ever know. "I'm fighting as hard as I can to keep my wife alive,'' said Jordan, who was arrested last year for growing marijuana in his back yard. The state eventually dropped the charges. "I'll challenge anybody to walk in my shoes. See what it's like when somebody you love is in need and you have found something that works for them. "You would be crazy not to fight for it.''



News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Tampabay.com
Author: John Romano
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Extreme-rhetoric-in-medical-marijuana-debate-obscures-the-real-people
 
Re: Florida - Extreme Rhetoric In Medical Marijuana Debate Obscures Real People Affec

Why talk about caregivers in Florida, when there wont be any?? Docs give out prescripts to go to the dispensary to get the meds.

So sad when I saw the first commercial about no on Amendment 2.