Sheriff, attorney: Medical marijuana law poorly written

Duo says they're not against use of pot for medical purposes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The battle over whether or not medical marijuana belongs on the 2014 ballot continues.

Many people and groups, including the Florida Sheriff's Association, say they aren't against medical marijuana helping people with serious health conditions but are against the way the amendment is written.

They say the amendment is too broad and needs to be narrowed down before being present on any type of ballot.

Jacksonville attorney Rod Sullivan said the amendment is not written the way it should be. He said the title and the summary are typically only the parts of the initiative people read.

He said that by law, the text of the actual amendment must conform with what's in the title and summary, and he said that's not the case with this amendment.

"I think if the amendment were to specifically describe a certain number of debilitating illnesses or define what a debilitating illness is, that would remove a lot of the objections," Sullivan said.

That is just one problem he sees.

Sullivan said the title of the initiative says marijuana can be used for certain medical conditions. But the text says a doctor can prescribe it for any condition where the benefits outweigh the risks.

Sullivan adds the amendment covers more than just one use of medical marijuana. If passed, it would give Florida virtually the most wide-open statute of any state in the country.

Yet another problem Sullivan sees with it is a doctor writes the prescription but has no say-so in the regulation of it.

"Consequently, you leave it up to someone who's not a doctor, not trained, not a pharmacist, to prescribe what is the right amount of marijuana, how frequently it should be used and when you should stop using it," Sullivan said.

The Florida Sheriff's Association announced its opposition to legalizing medical marijuana in the way it is currently drafted. Sheriff John Rutherford pointed out the same problems that Sullivan did, saying so much important information is left out of the amendment.

"We want to make sure how it's dispensed, how it's going to be available to people, who's going to use it," Rutherford said. "When you talk about debilitating, what does it mean? No one knows what it means yet."

Rutherford said the association just wants to make sure the marijuana is properly controlled and doesn't end up in the mainstream of the community.

"Look, I can tell you, if it was my family member I would want anything I could get to help them. I understand that and the sheriffs as a group understand that," Rutherford said. "But it's got to be done a proper way, and we believe that the language that's being used to get this on the ballot is not the proper way."

Both the sheriff and Sullivan say if this amendment passed in its current state, they believe people would be getting prescribed medical marijuana they would use recreationally left and right because some physicians would see it as a good business with no criminal negligence or exposure.

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