When I was in pain — at times quite debilitating — from four breast-cancer related surgeries, I wished Florida had medical marijuana because narcotics make me sick.
The highly addictive drugs my doctors prescribed made me nauseous and lethargic but didn’t relieve my pain.
Research shows medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for pain that, unlike narcotics, has no known lethal dose. And the drug relieves the nausea and vomiting that cancer patients suffer from chemotherapy.
That is one of several reasons I voted yes on Florida’s Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana.
I trust Mother Nature more than Big Pharma. And more than the Florida Sheriff’s Association, which has a vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal, namely the millions Florida law enforcement agencies take in every year seizing assets.
FSA President Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said the sheriff’s have an “obligation to educate our constituents and the people we’ve sworn to protect,” but he offers misinformation instead of facts. As do the TV ads sponsored by opponents of medical marijuana.
One of the false claims that Judd and the group No on 2 have made is that teenagers will be able to get medical marijuana. Not true. Florida law requires that doctors obtain consent from a parent or guardian before treating a minor — and that includes recommending medical pot.
When Judd’s department busted two marijuana grow houses this summer he tried to tie the illicit operation to what would be the legally regulated enterprises Amendment 2 would allow if it passes tomorrow.
“No wonder there are efforts to legalize marijuana in the state of Florida,” he said. “There are greedy people who want a piece of this without taking the risk of committing a criminal act.”
He doesn’t mention that his department gets to keep 85 percent of the value of cash and property they seize in drug busts, even when there’s no conviction.
No wonder there are efforts to keep marijuana illegal in Florida. There are greedy people who want to keep their piece of this cash cow.
What Judd and the other fear mongers won’t tell you is that a recent study by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found states that legalized medical marijuana have fewer deaths from opioids like OxyCotin, Percocet and Vicodin — all of which doctors prescribed for me — than states without medical marijuana.
On average, the 13 states with legalized medical marijuana have nearly 25 percent fewer opioid overdoses. Researchers say the results suggest that individuals in states with medical marijuana choose weed to manage their pain instead of opioids.
Florida had more than 2,000 prescription drug-related deaths in 2012, including 735 caused by oxycodone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an interim report on drug deaths during the first half of 2013, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement noted prescription drugs “continued to be found more often than illicit drugs, both as the cause of death and present at death.”
When my mother was in a Palm Beach County hospital five years ago facing the amputation of her second leg, she lost her appetite and a considerable amount of weight. Doctors prescribed Marinol, synthetic THC, the main ingredient in marijuana. The hope was that it would give her the munchies and she’d eat. A joint would’ve been more effective.
Her appetite didn’t improve in the least. Fake THC doesn’t have the therapeutic properties of the natural cannabis plant.
Marinol is also more psychoactive than real marijuana, so patients experience more adverse effects.
Still, Florida made it easier several years ago for doctors to prescribe Marinol, moving it from a Schedule II to a Schedule III drug. Meanwhile, marijuana remains in the most restrictive category, Schedule I, along with heroin.
How does that make sense?
If Florida is going to have sensible drug policies, voters will have to make it happen.
Legalizing medical marijuana is more than compassionate. It could save a significant number of lives. That should be a no brainer.
Source: Sun Sentinel