Saturday, September 20, 2014

Caregiver? To The Truth, No Care Given

Joe Cardona managed to piss off both SFL and I today with this crap.
At a quick glance (which is generally what most people give these questions in the voting booth) this statement would lead one to assume that “determined by a licensed Florida physician” means that doctors would write prescriptions for patients suffering from debilitating diseases. But in reality, prescriptions would not be required, but rather a doctor’s recommendation, which is a determination from a physician that an individual suffers from a chronic illness that can be helped by the use of marijuana. The amount of the weed dispensed to users is handled by a “caregiver” who will be registered with the state but, strangely enough, will not be required to have any medical expertise or training, or pass a criminal background check.
It would be great if Joe could limit himself to one lie per paragraph. The first one I've already dealt with. Federal law prohibits a doctor from writing a prescription for medical marijuana, and that's something that we need to change. But the prescription v. recommendation argument is a nonsensical exercise in semantics. Whichever, you must be under a doctor's care. This is not OTC.

But if Joe gave a f*ck about the truth he wouldn't come out with this smarmy caregiver argument. I haven't tackled this one yet so let's go!

If you're sick and bedridden like Cathy Jordan, you're probably not going to be the one that goes all the way to the dispensary to pick up your medical Mary Jane. You will likely have a friend or family member pick it up for you. As you can imagine, picking up someone's medical marijuana carries a specific legal risk.

That is where the caregiver designation comes in. A caregiver will be immune from criminal prosecution if they are found to be in possession of their designator's medical marijuana. They aren't supposed to be your nurse. They aren't going to administer the THC suppository. They are a designated person who is allowed to transport and possess your medical marijuana without fear of criminal charges. 

The lies don't stop there.
Perhaps the most disturbing component of the amendment relates to the issue of liability. No one in the pot distribution chain can or will be held liable for any mishaps. Essentially, this erases any patient protections that the current checks and balances of our legal system offer. Doctors who “mis-recommend” or caregivers who are in any form negligent in the sale of the marijuana are not subject to prosecution. This unquestionably is an irresponsible omission.
The Florida Supreme Court addressed this specific issue. January’s advisory opinion on Amendment 2 reads as follows: “this subsection does not grant broad immunity for either criminal or civil liability to physicians who prescribe medical marijuana fraudulently or even negligently. Rather this subsection does no more than what it states – exempts physicians from being subject to criminal or civil liability sanctions for the limited act of prescribing marijuana in a manner consistent with the amendment. The limited immunity is necessary because, in the absence of such immunity, the mere act of prescribing marijuana, a controlled substance under Florida law, would result in civil or criminal liability or sanctions, which would prevent the amendment from being implemented.”

But the most dishonest part of Joe's diatribe is that idea that big money is behind medical marijuana ready to cash in. Let's be clear – every member of the opposition to medical marijuana has a financial stake in defeating it. The two big names in the opposition, Sheldon Adelson and Carol Jenkins Barnett easily "out net worth" advocate John Morgan. Barnett runs a pharmacy and Adelson doesn't want people distracted from the gambling and alcohol sales that fuel his billionaire status. Add in the prison industrial complex and the pharmaceutical industrial complex and the big, big money is clearly on the side of 'no.' 

Cynically, Joe takes the side of the patients! 
There is little doubt that medical marijuana helps many chronically ill people, but the crux of this debate has more to do with money that the business of legal marijuana will generate than it does with caring about the sick.
And Joe is going to help those sick people by making them wait until god-knows-when before they can have legal access to this safe and effective medicine.

The truth is that it is money, not morality driving the opponents of medical marijuana.