Our response to “24-year-old: Why I’m fighting medical marijuana in Florida”

Our response to “24-year-old: Why I’m fighting medical marijuana in Florida”

Colin Fitzgibbon, Florida Campus Coordinator

When reading the Orlando Sentinel the other day, I was enraged to discover that there are people my age who oppose  medical marijuana in Florida, and worse still, who believe there is no “conclusive evidence marijuana is an effective treatment for anything.”

Andrew Sutton, fellow 24-year-old and political director for the No On 2 campaign, is outrageously misinformed on the subject of medical marijuana and the reasons why the overwhelming majority of Floridians support it. He says that, “As far as I can tell, people support Amendment 2 for three reasons: They believe it will help the sick, they believe even if it doesn’t help, it couldn’t hurt, [and] they believe marijuana should be legalized…”

Sutton may be correct in that some people support the amendment for those reasons, but fails to understand that there are many more. United for Care recently came out with 10 reasons to vote yes Amendment 2, which include the facts that states allowing medical marijuana have shown a 25% decrease in opiate overdose deaths, have fewer suicides by veterans with PTSD, and have shown no change in illicit teen use of the substance (and have even shown decreased use in some age demographics).

In Sutton’s editorial statement, he writes that there is “no conclusive evidence marijuana is an effective treatment for anything” and cited this claim with a small list of 4 medical associations that oppose Amendment 2. Countering this erroneous claim is United for Care’s list of 102 medical professionals in Florida who support the amendment, as well as the many other medical organizations that support medical marijuana. Sutton states that the American Medical Association opposes medical marijuana because “the evidence simply isn’t there,” a lie debunked by a study done by the organization’s own peer-reviewed journal. In addition to this, I will include a link to a trove of excellent research compiled by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws that strongly suggest medical marijuana can treat over 20 serious medical conditions.

While Sutton’s claim that Amendment 2 hasn’t received any money from “Big Pharma” is correct, the main donor of the No On 2 campaign is a casino tycoon from Las Vegas who paradoxically funded medical marijuana research in Israel that found huge potential in its ability to treat multiple sclerosis. The founder of the No On 2 campaign, Mel Sembler, had to shut down his adolescent rehabilitation clinics after multiple lawsuits and documented cases of child abuse. Depressingly, another large donor to the No On 2 campaign is Carol Jenkins Barnett, heiress to Publix supermarkets and sufferer of Alzheimer’s, who unfortunately isn’t aware that marijuana has been shown to be effective in removing Alzheimer’s-causing plaque from the brain.

Sutton complains that supporters of Amendment 2 are “anti-intellectual[s]” making claims without any evidence, while he himself makes the same type of claims, like “the jury’s still out on whether marijuana is linked to schizophrenia, or a hefty drop in IQ.” Although a Harvard University study shows that cannabis use does not cause schizophrenia, but may trigger the disorder in those already at risk, another study shows that CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid (chemical in the plant), may even be able to treat schizophrenia. Sutton’s bogus claim that marijuana may lower IQ has also been thoroughly debunked.

Sutton’s lies are an insult to the struggles of the hundreds of patients I’ve met working for this campaign over the last three years that so obviously benefit from this plant. His words are a disgrace to intellectuals, fellow millennials, and the 92% of medical marijuana patients nationwide who say it helps alleviate the symptoms of their serious medical conditions. To keep throwing these patients in jail just because the Florida legislature has failed to pass laws that will help them is a crime against humanity that must be remedied with the passing of Amendment 2 on Tuesday.