United for Care Answers Anti-Medical Marijuana Group's Claims

Medical marijuana advocates United For Care have come out and answered the various claims made in an eight-minute anti-medical weed ad that was recently released.

Last month, we told you about Drug Free Florida's anti-medical marijuana video called "Devil In the Details," that breaks down reasons why passing Amendment 2 in November would lead to chaos in the streets of Florida.

The video claims that Amendment 2 is fraught with legal loopholes and language that would allow pot to be smoked and sold on the streets without interference from the law, and that it would lead to the eventual full-on legalization of weed in the state.

"A vote for Amendment 2," Florida Sheriffs Association president Sheriff Grady Judd says in the video, "is a vote for legalizing marijuana forever in the state of Florida."

See also: Anti-Medical Marijuana Group Releases Video to Scare People Into Voting No on Amendment 2

The video breaks things down into what they say are loop holes found in Amendment 2, such as The Pill Mill Loophole, that tries to equate legal medical marijuana with the 2010 pill mills craze that hit Florida. In the video, sheriff Judd claims that pot shops will start opening next to elementary schools and high schools thanks to this loop hole. The video voice over person then says if Amendment 2 passes, pot shops will be the new pill mills.

"You're going to have pot in your neighborhoods because there are no restrictions," another man says in the video.

In response to the video's claims that Amendment 2 is full of loop holes, United For Care Campaign Manager Ben Pollara told New Times that the amendment's only purpose is to help people with debilitating diseases that could be helped with medical marijuana.

"If there was any doubt, the Florida Supreme Court has already ruled that the amendment will only be used in cases of debilitating illness," Pollara told New Times. "The purpose of the amendment is to allow the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician."

In another part of the video, Drug Free Florida trots out a former drug dealer and current minister that says that there will be so many pot shops opening thanks to the Teenager Loophole, there will be nowhere safe to take our families and children. Teenagers will be able to purchase pot just by claiming they can't sleep, or are stressed out, he warns.

But Pollara says that these claims are nothing but scare tactics from the opposition.

"These folks have seen their main arguments roundly rejected and debunked," Pollara said in a press release Tuesday. "They are now reduced to conjuring up bizarre and unrealistic scenarios designed to frighten and discourage voters from supporting Amendment 2, but Floridians are too smart to fall for their scare tactics."

Via United For Care:

The Teenager Loophole - Verdict: False As Politifact stated in its May 20, 2014 fact check on this topic, Florida minors would not be able to get a recommendation for medical marijuana from a physician because "currently, a parent or guardian must provide consent for medical treatment for a minor, except in emergencies or other unusual circumstances, such as when the Department of Children and Family Services must get involved."

The Drug Dealer Loophole - Verdict: False Jon L. Mills, noted constitutional expert and Dean Emeritus, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Governmental Responsibility at the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law says, "Amendment 2 recognizes that caregivers are critical for compassionate care of severely debilitated or terminal patients, but there are specific restrictions. The Florida Department of Health must issue caregivers an ID and it can - and anyone thinking about this rationally would be safe to assume, will - place reasonable qualifications on applicants for this role, including criminal background checks. Caregivers have no legal standing to consume or sell marijuana under this amendment, and to suggest that drug dealers can legally demand to be caregivers is simply absurd."

The Pill Mill Loophole - Verdict: False The State of Florida's Office of Economic and Demographic Research has found that a "pill mill" scenario would be highly unlikely under amendment 2, saying: "The multi-step process consisting of (1) an examination and assessment by a physician in order for a patient to receive a physician certification and (2) the application process through the Department of Health for an identification card may dissuade a pill mill scenario. Further, the amendment allows the Department of Health to issue implementing regulations, and allows the Legislature to enact laws consistent with the amendment that may provide additional regulatory protection."

The Pot-For-Anyone-Who-Wants-It Loophole - Verdict: False In a ruling handed down on January 27th, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court decided that the scope of Amendment 2 was unequivocal: only patients with debilitating diseases and conditions would be allowed to have access to medical marijuana, including those suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease, among others

"In its wording," Pollara tells New Times, "the amendment specifically says: 'Nothing in this section authorizes the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient.'"

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

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