Medical marijuana amendment ad sparks debate

Ad suggests some drug dealers will become caregivers


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some TV viewers may have noticed an ad on the air lately telling people to vote no on Amendment 2 -- the medical marijuana bill.

The amendment focuses on caregivers and the role they could play if the amendment passes and become law.

The ad suggests that some drug dealers will become caregivers, and it's now raising a lot of debate.

"They don't call it the drug dealer protection act, but they should," the ad says.

The is paid for by the Drug Free Florida Committee.

Those in favor of the amendment put News4Jax in touch with Robert Jordan, a caregiver. Jordan, who has been out front in the push to pass Amendment 2, said the ad is a slap in the face. Jordan takes care of his wife, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and said medical marijuana has extended her life.

"They are fear mongering," Jordan said. "'Be afraid, be afraid, be very, very afraid. If you take care of somebody, you are a drug dealer.' Now that is an insult to me. I love my wife. I am trying to keep her alive."

Those behind the ad said it's just the opposite.

"We are not calling caregivers drug dealers," said Sarah Bascom, spokeswoman for Vote No On 2. "What we are saying is, drug dealers could become caregivers."

"Its caregiver provision gives legal protection to marijuana dealers," the ad says. "Even felons and drug dealers could be caregivers. Amendment 2 caregivers don't need background checks or medical training."

"It does not take care of the sick," Bascom said. "It has loopholes big enough you can drive a truck through, and those loopholes are very dangerous to Florida."

Jordan said that's not what the ad implies.

"What they are saying is, if I help my wife, that I am a drug dealer. Caregivers are drug dealers," Jordan said.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said he is against Amendment 2 and said it's badly written. He agrees drug dealers could come out ahead if it passes.

"Medical marijuana is not needed. It is a fraud," Rutherford said. "It is incredibly deceptive, and it will put medical marijuana in every backpack in every junior high and high school in Jacksonville."

Voters will have the choice for the Nov. 4 election. If the amendment passes, it will become part of the state's constitution.

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