The Florida Medical Association has come out and opposed Amendment 2, the initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.
The FMA, which represents 20,000 doctors in matters such as regulatory affairs, public health, advocacy, and licensers, released a statement Monday over its concern that legalized medical marijuana would bring "unintended consequences" that would create a health risk.
The biggest threat, according to the FMA, would be that legalized medical pot would allow health-care providers with no training to order medical marijuana.
The FMA is also concerned about having medicine approval go on a ballot for people with no medical training to vote on.
Voters, they're basically saying, should trust their doctors with medicinal matters rather than deciding for themselves.
"We have come together to reject an Amendment that does not have the proper regulations in place, approves an unsafe method of drug delivery and puts a substance that has drug abuse potential in the hands of Floridians, if approved in November," said FMA President Alan B. Pillersdorf, via a statement. "The FMA also rejects a process whereby initiatives to approve medicines are decided by methods other than careful science-based review."
"We have come together to reject an Amendment that does not have the proper regulations in place, approves an unsafe method of drug delivery and puts a substance that has drug abuse potential in the hands of Floridians, if approved in November," Pillersdorf added.
For their part, medical marijuana advocates United For Care expressed disappointment, saying the FMA's position isn't in concert with the people, nor with a "growing number of doctors and nurses throughout Florida."
United for Care says these physicians have "expressed to us their support for the availability of medical marijuana as a treatment option."
"The Association's stance apparently does not take into account the many scientific studies, as well as copious anecdotal evidence, pointing to the efficacy of medical marijuana in alleviating symptoms from a wide range of debilitating diseases and conditions," United For Care said via a statement on Monday. "In our view, opposing the reasonable availability of this powerful therapeutic tool to the severely ill as outlined by Amendment 2 does not constitute the type of compassionate care that Floridians expect from their physicians."
United for Care goes on to say that the FMA's concern over medical marijuana being handled by health-care providers with no training is a premature one.
Basically, United for Care argues, it's too early to make blanket statement like that one and express this kind of concern when there haven't even been any regulations put in place by the Department of Health. This won't be the case until after the amendment is approved by voters.
"Those regulations may well include appropriate training and educational requirements for healthcare providers regarding the proper medical use of cannabis, and we would hope and expect the Florida Medical Association to participate in the elaboration of training materials to that effect, just as they have contributed to the creation of the 8-hour course that will be required of physicians hoping to enroll their patients in the state's newly-created Compassionate Use Registry as outlined under SB 1030," United for Care says.