Email Insights: Medical marijuana “loophole” gets foggier, not clearer

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As the cloud of controversy surrounding Amendment 2 increases, the Vote No on 2 campaign continues to “clear the fog” on the exact wording of the measure seeking to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.

In the latest email blast to supporters focuses, Vote No on 2 takes aim on the :drug dealer” loophole, by stressing the dangers of legally empowering “caregivers” to distribute medical marijuana.

At issue is the single requirement of caregivers — the people allowed to give out medical marijuana—to be at least 21. There are no other requirements listed on Amendment 2.

“The proponents of Amendment 2 have created a fog of misinformation that has surrounded Amendment 2,” the email quotes Madelyn Butler, past president of the Florida Medical Association. “Normally, the word ‘caregiver,’ would paint a picture of someone who has medical training or someone who at least has a relationship with the patient and knows their medical background.”

“But not with Amendment 2,” she adds, “which only defines ‘caregiver’ as an individual who is at least 21 years old.”

At this point, it’s not surprising that with nearly everything associated with Amendment 2, the truth exists in a grey area lying between the two extremes.

According to the Amendment 2 language:

“Personal caregiver” means a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years old who has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana and has a caregiver identification card issued by the Department.

A personal caregiver may assist no more than five (5) qualifying patients at one time. An employee of a hospice provider, nursing, or medical facility may serve as a personal caregiver to more than five (5) qualifying patients as permitted by the Department.

Personal caregivers are prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal, medical use by the qualifying patient.

If passed, sanctioned caregivers may not be “licensed professionals,” but it is also not quite the “green light to the drug dealing profession” that the Vote No on 2 campaign says it will be.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.