Guest column: Florida needs medical marijuana

By Ultima Morgan

I’ve been married to John Morgan for 31 years.

While I love him dearly, we are almost always on the opposite sides of political issues.

As John says, whenever we vote, we cancel each other out.

This election, that will not be the case — at least on the issue of medical marijuana. It was over a year ago that John talked to me before getting involved in this campaign.

I told him that as long as this was only about medical marijuana and helping people like my brother-in-law Tim, this was a campaign that he and I could agree on.

So, as John’s wife, as a mother of four and as a Florida voter, I am a proud supporter of medical marijuana and strongly encourage my fellow Floridians to vote “yes” on Amendment 2 this fall.

OPPONENTS AND SMOKESCREENS

Let me be absolutely clear: I am vehemently opposed to the legalization of marijuana. The recreational use of marijuana has no place in our society, and if that were on the ballot, I would not only vote against it but campaign against it with all my heart.

Amendment 2 is about medical marijuana and only for people suffering from debilitating diseases and medical conditions. The amendment language says that in plain English, and the Florida Supreme Court affirmed that in their decision to place the amendment on the 2014 ballot.

That is why it is so confusing and upsetting that opponents of Amendment 2 continue to mislead the voters into thinking that this is about something other than providing medicine to suffering people.

I’m not as involved in politics as John, but I am an engaged observer of the process and a lawyer, so I know how to make and dissect an argument.

The argument I hear from the opposition is that you and I, the voters, are being tricked by Amendment 2 and that it is about the legalization of marijuana, not about medicine.

I think that is a cynical ploy and shows a basic lack of respect for the intelligence of the Florida electorate.

LET PHYSICIANS DECIDE

My brother, Mike Degnan, is a physician in Haines City. He was family physician of the year in 1996.

I don’t know how he feels about medical marijuana, but I trust my brother to be able to make the right decisions for his patients, including the decision to recommend medical marijuana — and I generally trust my doctors. Most Floridians feel the way that I do.

If we pass Amendment 2, my brother will have the freedom to recommend marijuana to people like my brother-in-law, Tim Morgan, without either party having to fear criminal or professional ramifications.

Tim is paralyzed from the neck down, he’s lived through two bouts of cancer and he’s dealt with heart disease to boot.

Being Tim Morgan has not been easy and is terribly painful every single day.

If not for marijuana, Tim would barely be able to get out of bed in the morning; he would have to take huge doses of dangerous, addictive narcotics to manage his pain; he would not be the loving husband, father and productive member of society that he is today.

Amendment 2 isn’t just for Tim. Medical marijuana can help those undergoing cancer treatments, suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and numerous other terrible diseases and conditions.

I am aware that my husband is not universally loved. Some voters may be skeptical when he tells them to vote “yes” on Amendment 2.

Don’t take it from John, take it from me. Vote yes on Amendment 2. Help ease the suffering of Tim and thousands of others like him.

Ultima Morgan of Lake Mary is married to John Morgan, who has been leading the effort for Amendment 2.

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