Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn opposes Amendment 2, calls it “slippery slope”

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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn believes the legalization of medical marijuana is a “slippery slope,” and is no fan of Amendment 2, the constitutional referendum on the ballot November 4.

“There are alternatives for people who are in that type of pain,” the mayor said in an interview on Tuesday with Mitch Perry of Creative Loafing Tampa. “It’s hard for me to explain why I would legitimize what is a drug.”

Buckhorn does not come to this decision casually; he is the husband of Dr. Catherine Lynch Buckhorn, associate VP for women’s health and professor of general obstetrics and gynecology for USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. They are also parents of two young girls.

As the leader of such a large organization as Tampa, Buckhorn is concerned about holding employees accountable if they should come to work “stoned or drunk.”

“I need to have the ability to discipline people and prevent that from happening,” Buckhorn told Perry. “So for me I don’t think it’s the right solution.”

Perry noted that Amendment 2 says nothing about alcohol.

Buckhorn adds that he is sympathetic to those suffering and in pain, and cannabis provides “temporary relief,” but other medications could do the same thing.

“There are real medicines that can provide the same type of relief,” he said. “Medicines prescribed by legitimate physicians, not the equivalent of pill mill docs … so I just don’t think that is the appropriate response to a medical condition.”

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.