Safe, affordable access

In response to Florida's urgent need for pot rules, May 18 editorial

We agree that an early move toward clarifying the outlines of a post-Amendment 2 medical marijuana system would be positive. Much of the opposition to Amendment 2 comes from opponents who either ignore the text of the amendment or presuppose that the state will abdicate responsibility and implement a loosely regulated, California-style system — a result that no one paying attention believes will actually take place.

However, any implementation scheme should be conducted by the state Department of Health in conjunction with patient advocates and officials from other states with functioning medical marijuana systems in place, not by the politicians in the Legislature. The experience of SB 1030 — the bill for limited legalization to treat seizures — tells us that the Legislature will play politics with medical marijuana rather than try to put forward a system that actually works for those who need it.

Recent legislation is simply too restrictive, too politically motivated and is filled with special interest concerns rather than patient concerns. While forming a strong system for Florida, safe, affordable patient access should be the primary focus.

A sound medical marijuana implementation scheme should weigh three factors: broad and affordable patient access, a strictly controlled regulatory structure, and a robust but regulated free-market commercial environment.

So while we agree that the state should begin considering how a potential system would work, it would behoove those involved to look to the example of other states that have gone through this process, not to the craven political and lobbying interests that have written SB 1030.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager, United for Care, Coral Gables

Copyright 2014, Tampa Bay Times

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