Vote No on 2 gets ammo vs. medical marijuana with “for-any-reason” loophole

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Opponents of medical marijuana received ammunition for their case on Monday, courtesy of the attorney who argued Amendment 2 in front of the Florida Supreme Court.

One of the main issues for the Vote No on 2 Campaign is in the wording of November’s referendum to legalize medicinal pot, which actually allows for the use of marijuana beyond “debilitating” health problems.

It’s what they call the “Pot-for-Anyone-Who-Wants-It Loophole.”

They argue that it opens the door to widespread use and the general legalization of marijuana in Florida.

In a statement released Monday morning, Vote No on 2 revealed that in oral arguments made by Amendment 2’s constitutional lawyer, Jon Mills, said that pot could be recommended for a variety of other conditions, such as “throat pain, trouble sleeping and problems eating.”

During the December 5, 2013 arguments in front of the Florida Supreme Court, justices asked Mills to explain “other conditions,” using a hypothetical conversation with a doctor as an example .

According to Mills, the conversation could go: “I have throat pain, I can’t sleep, I’m having a problem eating…” to give doctors the option to recommend medical marijuana.

Vote No on 2 produced a video clip illustrating Mills’ account.

Constitutional Attorney Susan Kelsey, a Vote No on 2 supporter, says proponents of Amendment 2 “have gone to great lengths to make Florida voters believe it would truly only be for those suffering from ‘debilitating diseases.’”

Kelsey added that one needed to look no further than the amendment’s title itself – “Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.”

“Yet by the Amendment 2 attorney’s own admission, during oral arguments in front of the Florida Supreme Court no less, doctors may be able to recommend marijuana to someone who suffers from ‘other conditions,’ such as throat pain, trouble sleeping and problems eating,” she said.

What is most troublesome to Vote No on 2 is that the title and summary are what most voters will see on November’s ballot; for more information, they would have to dig deeper to the definitions “debilitating medical condition.”

Authors of Amendment 2 define “debilitating” illness to include cancer, glaucoma, and positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or other conditions.

“Nowhere in the ballot title, summary or the definition of ‘debilitating medical condition’ do the authors list things like throat pain, trouble sleeping or problems eating,” Kelsey adds. “Why?  Because they are trying to trick Florida voters into believing that pot will only be used for the list of truly terrible diseases that they list in the definitions.

“But their own attorney affirms what we’ve been saying all along – this Amendment with the qualifier ‘or other conditions’ is pot for any purpose,” she concluded.

The newest video from Vote No on 2 is also available on YouTube.

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.