By Christopher Fleites and Sharmila Bhagwandeen
For the past year, Florida has been hearing a great deal about Amendment Two. Amendment Two is a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that will allow patients with debilitating diseases to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s certification. Florida residents will be voting on Tuesday, Nov. 4, and if approved by 60 percent of voters, Amendment Two will legalize and regulate marijuana for medical use.
Many doctors have discovered that medical marijuana can aid people who are ill and suffering from HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and many other diseases and ailments. Amendment Two will be a positive direction towards healing and relieving many ill Florida patients.
There are many ill patients in Florida that would benefit more from medical marijuana than from other medications such as Xanax and Oxycontin for common illnesses such as stress, pain management and anxiety. In addition, medical marijuana alleviates many awful side effects to patients being treating for many serious diseases. It is a much safer medication than most of the pain and anti-anxiety medications legally available on the market. Florida doctors cannot currently recommend marijuana to patients who would benefit from it because they may face jail time. While thousands of people have become addicted to and died from prescription medications, none have died from taking medical marijuana alone.
Patients that currently use medical marijuana in Florida must obtain it through illegal and unregulated markets, putting them in potentially dangerous situations. These patients also face jail time if they are caught. It is counterintuitive that the state is allowing armed police to point their weapons at harmless patients who are suffering and may not have a long time to live. Additionally, responsible adults should be allowed to make their own decision as to what they put into their bodies, so long as they are not intentionally or negligently harming anyone else. No one should be incarcerated solely for smoking medical marijuana.
Voters who currently do not need medical marijuana should vote for Amendment Two for several reasons. First, by voting YES on TWO, many people would not likely be affected by the passage of Amendment Two at all, but people in need of the medication would be allowed access without fear of being arrested. Just because you do not need medical marijuana does not mean that you should actively prevent patients in need from using it to treat their illnesses.
Second, people who do not need the medication now may need it in the future. Good health is one of the uncertainties of life. Third, the benefits to the sick and the economy far outweigh any personal or societal harms caused by a person medicating with marijuana in private. Keeping it illegal is more dangerous than legalizing it. Illegality creates an underground market with no quality control, where patients are treated as criminals. Fourth, it is likely that someone you love may benefit from this medicine now or in the future.
Whether you will benefit from medical marijuana or not, it is time to allow Florida patients with debilitating diseases to have access to medical marijuana. On Tuesday, Nov.4, vote YES on AMENDMENT TWO.