Florida: Sunshine and Medical Marijuana



Voters finally pass amendment 2 which permits the use of medical marijuana in the state of Florida.

Mia Galex, Staff Writer

Floridians legalized the use of medical marijuana on Nov. 8, and the state now joins the likes of California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine who also passed the use of medical marijuana.  This was the second time that medical marijuana was taken to vote which shows that many voters have changed their mind on the subject. In the upcoming months doctors will be allowed to prescribe the drug for chronic painful conditions such as cancer, HIV, AIDS, glaucoma and epilepsy. It is truly a blessing that this alternative form of medicine has been passed since it will  allow potential patients live their life with less pain and even lessen the occurrence of seizures.

Floridians have given terminally ill patients a chance to lessen their suffering in respect to relieving nausea, vomiting and pain. The chemical compound that gives medicinal marijuana its effect is known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is found in both medicinal and recreational marijuana. THC functions as a dopiate by reducing pain and also functions as an anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory.  The chemical is closely regulated by the government to ensure THC levels are correctly administered.

In 2014, Florida’s second Amendment, which refers to legalizing medical marijuana, did not pass because of the lack of information backing up medical marijuana at the time and also because the amendment itself was worded poorly which caused confusion amongst voters.  The amendment allowed for virtually anyone to obtain possession of the drug and its highly dangerous levels of THC which led to only 57% of voters voting “YES.” Florida’s constitution mandates that an amendment must get at least 60% super majority vote in order to be passed into law.

Those against the legalization of medical marijuana argue that it is the gateway drug and has been linked to other forms of substance abuse. Binding the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, THC is associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. The effects of marijuana can interfere with attention, judgment and balance.  Many worry the levels of THC in medical marijuana are still too high and those using the drug pose a dangerous threat to society.  Not to mention, there are other ways to receive the benefits of medical marijuana including pills like Dronabinol, which in some cases, has proven to be more effective than smoked marijuana.

“THC seems to be an effective substance that controls pain.  As far as I am concerned, I do not know of any negative side effects that occur from using the substance therefore, from my point of view it does not pose any harm towards society,” honors chemistry teacher Luis Bosch said.

When you take into account all of the factors (i.e. the patients current condition including pain levels, chance of survival, age, etc.) the need for the drug can be clearly recognized.  According to Lester Grinspoon, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, “I have yet to examine a patient who has both smoked marijuana and [taken Dronabinol] who finds the latter more useful; the most common reason for [Dronabinol] is the illegality of marijuana, and many patients choose to ignore the law when they believe that the difference between the two puts their health, comfort or economic well-being at risk.  If patients were legally allowed to use marijuana, relatively few would choose [Dronabinol].”

The legalization of medical marijuana in Florida has allowed those suffering to cope and manage their pain.  Doctors prescribing the drug are not only helping the sick, but allowing the state to take action and be one of the first to take part in this revolutionizing movement.  Choosing what medication to accept or not accept is a personal choice and the people should be allowed to have that option.