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2 Florida papers do an about face on Amendment 2, call for yes on medical pot

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Two Florida daily newspapers opposing the legalization of medical marijuana in 2014 have made an about-face, and are now supporting a “yes” vote on Amendment 2.

This week, United for Care, the organization behind Amendment 2, announced the editorial boards of the Florida Times-Union and Ft. Myers News-Press each have penned op-eds in favor of the proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot.

In “An improved medical marijuana amendment deserves support,” the Times-Union says the 2016 version is “better crafted,” citing the unanimous decision from the Florida Supreme Court as proof.

The amendment “was crafted with the abuses of pill mills in mind so there is an extra step for approval,” making it “clear that physicians who abuse the law still are liable for current malpractice laws.”

The News-Press is supporting Amendment 2 because it seeks to “help those patients dealing with severe pain brought on by disease and other severe ailments.” They note the definition of who qualifies under the law has been made “more specific” and that “A parent’s written consent is required in order for children to use the drug and caregivers must have appropriate background checks.”

In February, The Bradenton Herald also declared its support for medical marijuana, becoming the first newspaper to change its position from 2014.

Eleven large Florida dailies have issued endorsements on Amendment 2; nine of them have told readers to vote “yes.”

Those papers who are saying yes on Amendment 2 in 2016, but opposed it in 2014 include The Bradenton Herald, Ft. Myers News-Press, and the Florida Times-Union.

Papers that said yes in both 2014 and 2016: The Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Tallahassee Democrat, the Gainesville Sun and the Ocala Star-Banner.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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