State’s medical marijuana fight is past point of silly


At some point maybe 10 or 20 years from now, the contortions used by the state of Florida to stall the use of medical marijuana will probably seem pretty silly.

Eventually, the drug that 72 percent of voters approved for use by people suffering such hideous diseases as HIV, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) will be loosened from political reefer madness.

Those suffering from terminal diseases or just chronic pain will be able to smoke it, or even inhale!

That goes for the federal government too, which still bans marijuana use for even medical treatments.

Thanks to some political parlor tricks in May 2017, medical marijuana is available only in processed forms like oil or edible.

Opponents, probably hearkening back to the days when they didn’t get invited to the cool parties back in college, attached a ban on smoking medicinal weed.


Because the Florida Legislature often doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what voters really want.

That’s still happening, by the way.

After Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers last week lifted that absurd ban, correctly calling it unconstitutional, Gov. Rick Scott quickly announced the state would appeal.

That opened the door for Orlando high-powered attorney and foremost Medical Marijuana advocate John Morgan to call on Scott to stop the madness.

“Rick this type of meanness will COST you the U.S. Senate seat,” Morgan tweeted.

And for emphasis, he added, “Don’t be like the others. Grow some brass ones!!”

It shouldn’t take brass ones to deal fairly with this. After all, the soon-to-be-former Governor and U.S. Senator-wannabe be would be siding with 72 percent of voters.

I’m betting that when most of those folks voted yes on the medical marijuana amendment, they did so with the expectation that users in dire need of relief would be smoking the weed, which is said to be the most efficient way to obtain relief.

At some point, all this begs the question: Whose side is the Governor on?

The Legislature has done some pretty snarky things over the years, but this was essentially an upraised middle finger on an issue that should be about compassion.

I had an aunt die of Parkinson’s years before medical marijuana became a thing.

Ever seen somebody with that disease?

One of the last times I spoke with her, I could barely make out her words, but I sure understood the desperation in her voice. She was begging for something, anything, to help.

What would the Governor have said to her?

Sorry lady, but smoking medical marijuana might be bad for your health?

My grandmother died the most painful way you can imagine, her fingers curled up from rheumatoid arthritis. Every part of her body was in agony. She was begging for death to come.

Pain is always somebody’s problem until you personally experience the real thing.

We’ve seen the crisis in this state and nation from opioid addiction. It’s legal to prescribe potent painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin, and they work well; oh yeah, they work. But they carry a horrible risk of addiction that can kill.

Would smoking medicinal weed be worse than that?

This is past the point of silly.

There is a time to stop being a politician and start being human.

I think we’re there.

Joe Henderson has enjoyed a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. He says Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It’s a treat to have a front-row seat for it all. His column appears courtesy of


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