University Press
Amendment 2 Forum: Is Medical Marijuana Legalization Good For Florida?
October 10, 2014
By Max JacksonOn Wednesday evening, Oct. 8, over 150 people gathered in the Live Oak Pavilion on FAU’s Boca Raton campus for the Amendment 2 Forum: Is Medical Marijuana Legalization Good For Florida, hosted by the political science department. The crowd consisted of students, faculty, activists and people who wanted to learn more about Amendment 2 and medical marijuana in Florida. The forum was moderated by Dr. DeRosa of the political science department, and featured a debate between Ben Pollara (United for Care’s campaign manager) and Dr. Jessica Spencer (statewide coalition director for Vote No On Amendment 2). After the debate, Libertarian candidate for attorney general Bill Wohlsifer spoke and answered questions from the crowd.Ben Pollara, the campaign manager for United for Care, spoke on the pro-Amendment 2 side of the debate on Oct. 8. United for Care is the main pro-Amendment 2 group in Florida, focusing on spreading awareness about the benefits of medical marijuana. He mentioned David Tilbury as one of the patients whose life would not be the same without access to medical cannabis. Pollara spoke about the impact of Amendment 2, which would allow doctors in Florida to recommend the use of medical marijuana to patients with debilitating diseases and medical conditions. Pollara and his team have been driving their campaign bus around the state of Florida to spread the message about Amendment 2 and to mobilize voters for the upcoming election. He debated with the anti-Amendment 2 speaker, Dr. Jessica Spencer, about the helpfulness of medical marijuana and also answered questions from the audience.Dr. Jessica Spencer, an anti-Amendment 2 speaker, spoke about how she believed the passage of Amendment 2 would protect drug dealers and endanger children. She also spoke of “pot shops” being opened on every corner without regulation because Amendment 2 does not specify how or where medical marijuana may be sold. She believes that marijuana has medical properties, but that they need to be explored by pharmaceutical companies because “we don’t smoke our medicine.” During the Q&A portion of the forum, Dr. Spencer received the most questions from the crowd. The comments ranged from students asking about the death tolls from insulin and opiates to a Parkinson’s patient describing her time in Colorado where she was able to “feel normal again” after testing out Colorado’s legal marijuana.Suffering through over a dozen surgeries due to dwarfism, 43-year-old David Tilbury said that medical cannabis helps with his chronic back and hip pain. He is a parent and husband and believes that he would not be either of those things without medical cannabis.Beth Ann Krug was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009, and has been an advocate for Parkinsons since then. She said that one of her concerns with Amendment 2 is how it would affect people who have already been incarcerated for the buying or selling of marijuana. “There’s been a time where I had to choose between going to the grocery store and picking up my medication — one of which, over the counter, is $888 a month,” she said. Krug spoke of her time in Colorado this summer, stating, “While I was there I tried it, it was called Trinity. It took away my tremors, and for a couple of hours I felt normal again.”Philip Stern, a 23-year-old living with Crohn’s Disease for the past 10 years, attended the Amendment 2 Forum on Oct 8. He asked Dr. Spencer about the death tolls from insulin, opiates and marijuana, and spoke about how his daily life is made better by the medical use of marijuana. The medication he takes now costs $7,000 every month. “THC and CBD are highly effective anti-inflammatories,” he said. Stern stressed that the quality of the product is one of the most important factors in using marijuana as medicine. “There are no quality tests when you buy it on the street,” he added. Smoking marijuana allows Stern to eat and have regular bowel movements, two things that are often difficult for those who have Crohn’s.Dr. Marshall DeRosa, a political science professor at FAU, put on this event along with the Apgar Foundation and James Madison Institute. Dr. DeRosa’s goal with putting on this event was “to heighten FAU’s profile in the community regarding public policy issues important to Floridians.”Bill Wohlsifer was the final speaker of the evening. He is the first Libertarian candidate for attorney general in Florida. Bill is a proponent of Amendment 2, but does not feel that it is an issue that needs to be decided by a constitutional amendment. He also has a plan, Hemp 4 Water, in which he believes that growing hemp in Florida is a “smart and economical environmental solution.”Article: