United for Care Rejects New Ad by Drug Free Florida Committee
United for Care, the largest organization advocating for voter approval of Amendment 2 on November’s ballot, rejects the new television ad released by the Drug Free Florida Committee. Entitled “It’s a Trick,” the ad features Dr. Madelyn Butler, a Tampa Obstetrician and Gynecologist. At the close of the :30 second spot, Dr. Butler states “there is nothing medical about this marijuana.”
“With all due respect, Dr. Butler is in the minority compared to her peers in the medical profession,” said Ben Pollara. “The overwhelming majority of physicians polled on this issue over the last few years have expressed their support for the medical use of marijuana.”
A poll of 1,446 physicians published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May of 2013 showed that more than 3 out of 4 physicians would recommend the use of medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms in the case of a late-stage breast cancer patient.
Another poll of 1,544 physicians conducted by WebMD/Medscape in February and March of this year revealed that 69% of doctors say medical marijuana “can help with certain treatments and conditions,” and 67% believed “it should be a medical option for patients.”
Overwhelming support for medical marijuana has also come from the patients themselves. A recently released survey of over 7,500 California adults produced by the Public Health Institute in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control reveals that 92% percent of medical marijuana patients say it works at alleviating their symptoms from severe diseases and medical conditions like cancer, migraines, arthritis and chronic pain.
Medical groups that support the use of medical marijuana include the American College of Physicians, the Institute of Medicine, the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, the American Medical Student Association and the state medical societies of New York, Rhode Island and California.
On an individual level, some of our nation's most respected physicians have expressed their support for medical marijuana. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta has advocated for the full-sclae federal legalization of medical marijuana.
In a March 2014 interview with the Huffington Post on the topic of medical marijuana Gupta said "in terms of making this legal for medicinal purposes -- yes, and there are both very pragmatic reasons and more subjective reasons for that."
Drug Free Florida's latest ad is also drawing rebuke from some Florida doctors.
“Dr. Butler is obviously not aware of the overwhelming evidence that is already out there regarding the medical benefits of marijuana,” said Anne Morgan M.D., a Family Medicine Doctor in North Palm Beach. “Many of us physicians who have already gathered the facts are coming together to make sure we can safely and responsibly recommend cannabis to qualifying patients. In my opinion, to ignore the information we now have and deny them this therapeutic option is no longer tenable.”
In the ad Dr. Butler also highlights the fact that marijuana is not FDA approved. She fails to point out that the Federal Government has erected extraordinary barriers to research on the medicinal properties of cannabis. For example the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the only federally legal provider of marijuana for investigative purposes, has approved over 500 grants for studies related to this since 2003. According to the agency, only about 30 of those were designed to elucidate the potential benefits of the plant.
Dr. Madelyn Butler also alludes to the fact that a prescription will not be needed to obtain medical marijuana under Amendment 2. What she doesn’t say is that medical marijuana will be far more difficult to secure than prescription medications, even addictive and sometimes deadly narcotics.
Under this measure physicians would have to certify in writing that a patient is suffering from a “debilitating disease or medical condition” and that, in his or her professional opinion, the benefits of using medical marijuana would outweigh the risks. The physician’s recommendation would then have to be sent to the Department of Health. If that agency determines that the patient qualifies it would then issue a medical marijuana card that would enable him or her to obtain cannabis at a medical marijuana treatment center.
“The vast majority of Florida’s physicians, patients and voters already know the truth about medical marijuana: it simply works,” said Ben Pollara. “I am confident Floridians will come together on November 4 to make sure it becomes available for all those who truly need it.”
Powered by over 10,000 volunteers, United for Care is the largest organization in Florida urging voters to vote "yes" on Amendment 2. United for care is a non-partisan campaign with an on-the-ground presence in 18 communities across the state including campaign offices in Miami, Tampa and Orlando.
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Others should have the same access that I enjoyed when I lived in a MMJ state. Their lives and happiness are worth fighting for.
The only thing they have to work with is fear and ignorance and it is up to us to make sure the public is aware of this.
Keep up the good work everyone and don’t let up, we are very close to victory!