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Guest Commentary: For: Amendment 2 is about compassion

By Staff | Oct 22, 2014

In life, almost every single one of us will suffer from what I call “thunder strikes,” unexpected calamities that affect us suddenly and change our lives forever. The most heartbreaking and unanticipated one in my life came when I was in college. I received a call from my father letting me know that my 18-year-old brother Tim had been paralyzed due to an accident he suffered while working at a pool as a lifeguard. It was the single worst day of my life.

Every year, Floridians of all ages and races have their lives altered forever by “thunder strikes.” It often marks the beginning of an entirely new reality that involves dealing forever after with a debilitating disease or medical condition. For my brother Tim, like many others, it meant a long quest to find a measure of relief from the pain and the suffering of his severe ailment. After much trial and error, which included taking many dangerous and addictive prescription medications, Tim finally found the relief he sought through the use of medical marijuana. Now one piece of marijuana-infused chocolate in the morning and one at night are all he needs to help him lead a productive life. Unfortunately for him and so many other Florida patients, having access to medical marijuana today means breaking the law. That is why I have fully committed myself to leading the fight for safe, legal access to medical marijuana through Florida Amendment 2.

I am not a scientist, so I cannot tell you why it works, but I can assure you that it does. I have seen it not only in the case of my brother, but also from our mutual experience with our father, who dramatically improved his quality of life during the last months of his fight against cancer and emphysema through the use of medical marijuana. There is no reason to criminalize patients like my father and Tim for seeking relief from their suffering, or for that matter prosecuting physicians who would recommend the therapeutic use of this natural plant. By approving Amendment 2 we will be ensuring that no sick Floridian will ever have to face punishment for using marijuana to alleviate his or her symptoms from a debilitating disease or medical condition.

The opposition, overt and otherwise, includes pharmaceutical companies that make billions of dollars selling us potentially deadly and addictive medications that, in many cases, can be safely replaced with medical marijuana. They are spreading lies about this plant and about Amendment 2 in an effort to scare you into voting down this compassionate measure.

They continue to harp on about supposed “loopholes,” trying to make you believe that children will be getting marijuana recommendations from doctors without their parents’ approval, and that drug dealers will pose as caregivers to protect themselves from the law. These charges are not only absurd on their face, they have been debunked time and time again and have been exposed for what they truly are: scare tactics. In fact I have taken to calling these opponents “scaregivers.”

I believe in the basic compassion and decency of my fellow Floridians, that is why I am confident we will pass Amendment 2 on Nov. 4th. We all understand how vulnerable we are to “thunder strikes,” and when we inevitably come face to face with one of them, shouldn’t we have every option available when it comes to alleviating our own suffering or that of a loved one? We should, and that’s why I respectfully urge you to vote “yes” on Amendment 2.

– Attorney John Morgan is founder of Morgan & Morgan Law Firm and is Chairman of United for Care.