Email Insights: In medical marijuana debate, United for Care says just stick with the facts

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Rhetoric over Florida’s Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana, reaches its peak as the Untied for Care campaign sends out an email responding to the latest anti-pot arguments coming from Vote No on 2.

United for Care dismantles the case built by competitors, which rest on four “loopholes” in the amendment, calling them “a collection of disingenuous claims ranging from the wildly speculative to the outright deceitful.”

Point-by-point, they address each argument, giving the reader a combination of PolitiFact investigation finding that teenagers would need parental consent before purchasing medical marijuana; the opinion of legal experts

They even provide an official analysis by the State of Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research; the agency concluded that by legalizing medical marijuana under Amendment 2, development of a “pill mill scenario” would be “highly unlikely.”

“Tallahassee has already recognized the medical value of marijuana as evidenced by recent legislation, so opponents have been left with nothing to offer but deceit and scare tactics,” said United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara. “It is shameful to see our detractors use these disingenuous claims in their callous attempt to deny medicine to tens of thousands of suffering patients across our State.”

Sounds like a reasonable response, filled with legitimate points supporting the push to legalize medical marijuana.

Nevertheless, that did not stop Pollara from falling back on one of the major criticisms levelled on the group by Vote No on 2 — name-calling.

“Their arguments lack as much credibility as their leadership,” he said. “The No on 2 Campaign is led by a man who was once quoted as saying marijuana use leads to homosexuality, and their communications are being handled by a tobacco lobbyist, hardly the type of character that should be pronouncing herself on issues of health.

“Their campaign is not about anyone’s well-being, it’s only about ruthless political gain.”

Unfortunately, ad hominem attacks will only go to set back the cause; it rarely changes anyone’s opinion. In this case, it might be better to stick simply with the facts — especially if you feel they are on your side.

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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.