Administer Amendment 2 as the People Intended
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We the voting citizens of Florida respectfully ask for you to REJECT HB 1397 and instead implement the Amendment 2 law that 71% of the voting population asked for.
We do NOT want:
- Bans on smoking, vaporizing and eating medical marijuana.
- To wait 90 days to be certified and access relief.
- To re-certify every 90 days.
- To create numerous, new criminal penalties for even minor violations. According to this bill, we are in MORE criminal trouble as patients than if caught with the same quantity of black market marijuana.
- Fear, stigma and mis-education to color our elected official's opinion. The typical medical cannabis patient is far from the Cheech and Chong characterizations of days passed. Most patients are actually looking for relief without the psychotropic effects, and this is completely achievable, even in higher THC preparations through careful balance with the other constituents in whole plant medicine.
- To have to go to court to sue the state for not implementing our will as Florida voting citizens. (And yes, we will have that right should Amendment 2 fail to satisfy the language AND spirit of the Amendment question)
We DO want:
- Reasonably easy access without the currently imposed bureaucratic and physical barriers. (We are seeking a better quality of life because of our conditions, after all, and the 90 day initial wait and 90 day recurring follow-ups are financially and physically prohibitive, especially for people in immense pain, discomfort, and turmoil)
- Access to a variety of strains and preparations to treat the myriad symptoms that cannabis relieves. Sometimes it takes the right combination to be effective in treating multiple issues in one person, and dosing methods vary by the effect needed to be achieved. One quick puff from a vaporizer might be all that's needed, with a half-life of a little over an hour for the typical user, or the extended coverage of an edible for relief lasting upwards of 8-12 hours. Different situations require different preparations, dosages, and cannabinoid profiles.
- Expanded access to medicine. Competition breeds excellence. Choice in access is not only fundamental to successfully using medical cannabis, it's opening and expanding employment opportunities. Simply put, greater choice and availability is as good for Florida's economic health and well-being as it is for the patient's.
- The ability to access medicine if we are a retiree or snow-bird. The bill as it is being written now, would require us to suffer needlessly, and only be able to access our medicine for a fraction of the year. We are the people who most need access. We are also a population of people who might not otherwise choose to retire in Florida should medical marijuana not be accessible.
- Confidentiality. Our private health information should be accessible only to us and the medical professionals we choose in writing to share it with. An alarming separate but related bill to fund UF's proposed Marijuana and Safety Outcomes Surveillance System seeks to monitor our experience and outcomes with medical cannabis. While research IS needed, this should be done with clinical studies that users choose to participate in. In addition, that measure would require our physician to complete quarterly treatment plans. This is simply busy work meant to dissuade people from participating. It's financially and physically prohibitive for both the patient and the doctor.
- The will of the PEOPLE to prevail, not the will of the lobbyists and special interests. It is shameful the amount of money spent by the people who stand to lose money through Amendment 2, ie grocery/pharmacy organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and currently operational dispensaries who do not want competition.
- An allowance for reciprocity. With Florida as the leading tourism destination in the US, and 28 states having medical marijuana programs, it only makes sense to allow visiting qualified patients from out of state to access dispensaries and have the ability to medicate appropriately and discretely while in Florida. This is a win for the economy, and for people who might want to vacation in Florida, but whose medical conditions are prohibitive without the relief of medical cannabis.
- To allow entities that opposed Amendment 2 to effectively write the law to suit their agenda. In what world does the losing side get to draft a law they opposed? Shameful is the audacity of our elected representatives drafting this law under the direction of groups like 'Drug Free America' and 'Drug Free Florida,' organizations that continually spread mis-information and demonize adults for choosing to medicate with medical cannabis, especially in light of the opioid epidemic. If a patient can choose a relatively safe, non-addictive, natural solution that will never result in death by overdosing, wouldn't that be good for everybody? Everybody except pharmaceutical companies like Insys, the makers of Fentanyl and other top opioid producers Purdue, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Mylan, and Depomed.
We call on our elected officials to produce a bill that speaks to the will of 71% of voters. We demand they reject the prohibitive and punitive structure of HB 1397, and create a more compassionate law. We demand they study successful programs in other regions, and model the best parts for the Sunshine State. We demand they review the testimony of the patients, and weigh the importance of their testimony several times over than that of the lobbyists and corporations.
The consequences of not following through appropriately will be costly to the state in legal fees, and will likely lead to your unseating in the next election. We hope you will move forward in the direction of progress, so that we may find relief to our suffering.
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