After 16 years of battling drug addiction, it should come as no surprise that Rep. Darryl Rouson is having trouble with the proposed Florida constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana.
As a Democrat, Rouson’s party had been — for the most part — supportive of November’s amendment 2. Rouson himself has “immense respect” for John Morgan, the influential Orlando trial attorney who has spearheaded the medical marijuana effort.
“But, I am worried about the amendment,” Rouson told a crowd of about 300 community leaders attending a recent Sarasota Tiger Bay, reports Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Rouson swears he is not opposed to the medical marijuana amendment, be he does seem ill at ease with the ballot initiative, which he compares to “Pandora’s Box.”
When thinking about his 13-year-old son, Rouson wonders if Florida will be sending a “terrible message” to children about marijuana dependence, suggesting it may be less serious than other addictions.
“The message is already being sent that this is a harmless drug,” said Rouson, whose Florida House District 70 includes Sarasota, Bradenton and Palmetto.
Rouson says the fears of where the amendment will lead, is what ultimately fueled his support of the bill in May to allow “Charlotte’s Web,” a marijuana extract used to treat children suffering from certain forms of epilepsy.
Other legislators has similar questions about the potential impact of Amendment 2, but Rouson’s doubts are particularly notable, not just because he is a Democrat, but also that he is a lawyer who used to work for Morgan.
“I don’t disagree with the intent of his heart,” Rouson said about Morgan’s objective to allow people to use medical marijuana to ease suffering.
However, others from the region’s legislative delegation are also are wary of Amendment 2, such as state Rep. Ray Pilon.
Pilon believes the proposal is so broad that it could lead to widespread marijuana usage, Wallace writes.
“It opens up the flood gates,” Pilon said. “It’s a bad way to approach this problem.”
Pilon said lawmakers should have created a narrower bill on the issue.