Tuesday, September 16, 2014

L-L-Lies: Debunking The No On 2 Campaign

I like democracy. With good information voters can make good decisions. Conversely, with bad information voters cannot make good decisions.

I just spent an afternoon listening to a powerpoint presentation put together by the Florida Sheriffs Association, and its main thesis – that Amendment 2 is riddled with loopholes – is not just bad information, it's pure bullshit.

The attack on Amendment 2 by the NO crowd relies on an intentional misrepresentation of Florida's constitutional amendment and legislative process. 

The constitutional amendment is just that, an amendment. It is not nor does it purport to be the final body of laws and regulations that will ultimately govern Florida's medical marijuana program, should Amendment 2 pass. It leaves a great deal up to the Florida Legislature and the Florida Department of Health, giving them a wide breadth to craft medical marijuana policies that work for Florida.

These are just a few of the outrageous assertions put forward by the opponents of medical marijuana in their desperate attempt to maintain the status quo.

The Teenager Loophole

To their credit PolitiFact took this one on and to their discredit they gave it a half true, because 18 and 19 year olds are technically teenagers but also adults and thus would not need their parent's consent. But what the NOs are trying to imply is that younger teens (does the girl in this picture look 18?) will be able to get marijuana without their parents consent via the medical marijuana process and that is just a pile of horse manure. Younger teens cannot get medical marijuana without their parent's consent in any of the 2 dozen other medical marijuana states and by the time the completed regulations roll out they will not be able to get it here.

The Charlotte's Web medical marijuana law that is currently on the books was designed to help children suffering from extreme seizure disorders. What sense would it make to craft a medical marijuana law and then exclude children like these who could potentially be helped by other strains? That is why there is no age limit.

Pot Will Make You Gay

This would have been nice for me. I would have had a lot more fun as a teen. But no, it does not work that way.  
"The newly formed Drug Free Florida committee has somehow managed to choose as its chairman a messenger with even less credibility than its message," read a press release put out by pro-pot group United for Care Organization. It continued, "There is no place for bigotry and ignorance in the debate over compassionate medical marijuana policy in Florida." 
Summarizing their take on the 1986 Newsweek article, the group says that Turner "once stated that marijuana 'leads to homosexuality...and therefore to AIDS.' This statement is as offensive as it is inaccurate and should call into question any claim made by Mr. Turner in the course of this campaign."
Doctors Will Write Marijuana Prescriptions For Itchy Backs

PolitiFact did this one too but I'm not even going to link to it because they want to stipulate over the difference between a recommendation and a prescription rather than the core question – will doctors hand out marijuana recommendations willy-nilly or will there be some type of tighter controls? Given what we've seen in this state and elsewhere it is highly likely that some people who don't need marijuana for valid medical reasons might get some. There are bad doctors. There are bad lawyers. There is good and bad in everyone.

But even if a few bad apples hand out some really good bud, so what? Studies have shown that it's less addictive than alcohol or tobacco. We have far more dangerous drugs than marijuana in our pharmacies and on our streets right now. 22,000 people died last year from legal prescription drugs. Not in 5,000 years of medical history has anyone ever died of a marijuana overdose.

There Is No FDA Approved Use For Medical Marijuana 
“The U.S. holds a patent [on marijuana] on one hand, and on the other hand, the same government says it has no medical applications. Journalists are trained to hate hypocrisy. This is hypocrisy. I’ve never seen it quite like this.” ~  Dr. Sanjay Gupta
When I decided to advocate for this issue I educated myself. I have known for years, mostly from hangover recovery, that marijuana is a wonderful remedy for nausea. Good when you've drunk too much the night before, even better when you're on your 5th dose of chemo this week and you can't keep your food down. But there is much more to it than that.

There is no FDA approved use for medical marijuana but ironically, as Dr. Sanjay Gupta says, there is a medical patent for it. The patent (US6630507) is titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” and was awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October 2003.

The text of the patent reads
“This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”
What's the thing about a prophylaxis? That's something you take in advance so you don't get sick or something that limits damage from an injury.

That's something the NFL might want to think about.
A well regarded Harvard professor emeritus has a modest suggestion for the NFL: start funding marijuana research as a way to treat concussions. 
Lester Grinspoon has long been an advocate of marijuana. He shared with Vice’s online magazine Motherboard an open letter he’s written to NFL commissioner Roger Godell urging him to listen to evidence of cannabis as a successful treatment for long term head trauma. 
Grinspoon says he is a long-time fan of the NFL and does not want to see players suffer brain traumas in the future. 
He says while helmets can protect the skull, nothing can protect the brain inside…except maybe cannabis. 
“Already, many doctors and researchers believe that marijuana has incredibly powerful neuroprotective properties, an understanding based on both laboratory and clinical data,” he writes. 
Grinspoon says the NFL is one of the few organizations with the deep pockets to fund the extensive research needed. 
He says the money will be worth it to prevent a lifetime of brain disease for future players. 
If medical marijuana is indeed something that can actually prevent damage from concussions and diseases like Alzheimer's, the problem with Amendment 2 isn't that it's too lenient. The problem is that it's too restrictive. Under Amendment 2, you will have to be debilitated before you can get the treatment that would have been preventative.

If you take anything from this it should be that medical marijuana has real science behind it, and all the NOs have is "pot will give you kooties and they'll sell it off ice cream trucks like in that Cheech & Chong movie."

Rocky Road, please and Yes On 2.