In medical marijuana debate, both sides have reason to cheer this week

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In the battle over Florida’s legalization of medical marijuana, each side had a reason to celebrate today as two events helped bolster their respective arguments both for and against Amendment 2.

For the “Vote No on 2” campaign, which recently pointed out a “Pot for Any Purpose” loophole in the language of Amendment 2,  a boost came with the publication of PolitiFact’s Truth-o-Meter’s rating. It said the campaign’s contention that “less than 5 percent of registered users in states allowing medical marijuana have cancer or AIDS,” is “mostly true.”

The campaign says the rating demonstrates the language in Amendment 2 is “misleading and the Pot for Any Purpose loophole does exist.”

“The PolitiFact finding published today is evidence that the language used in Amendment 2 is a smokescreen and is open to interpretation, giving way to many harmful loopholes,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the “Vote No on 2” campaign.

“The numbers show that those suffering from debilitating medical conditions, such as the ones outlined in Amendment 2, are not the ones who are primarily using medical marijuana,” Bascom added. “Instead, the numbers indicate that the majority of medical marijuana goes to treat ‘other conditions,’ such as pain, headaches, insomnia and anxiety, not those who are truly sick.”

On the other side, the pro-medical marijuana group United for Care found reason to cheer because of an amendment to the 2015 federal Justice Department appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives on Friday.

The latest version of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to go after businesses and patients in states with legal medical marijuana. The measure passed the House by a vote of 219-189.

“No longer will sick Americans have to fear their own government for simply seeking to secure the medicine they require to treat their debilitating medical conditions,” said United for Care Campaign Manager Ben Pollara in a statement.

“For Floridians, this vote should signify two important things about medical marijuana in our state: first, momentum is on our side to pass Amendment 2 this fall; and second, we should take comfort that when Florida ultimately implements Amendment 2, it will be without fear of the federal government interfering to thwart the will of the people,” Pollara added.

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.