The Sunshine State’s doctors — or at least the organization to which many of them belong — are making an effort to stem what appears to be a rising tide of acceptance of marijuana. We doubt they will be successful but have to admire their courage in opposing the amendment to the state constitution that will be on the November general election ballot legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The 20,000-member Florida Medical Association this week urged voters to reject Amendment 2, which would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to treat ailments or reduce the negative side effects of cancer chemotherapy. In a statement, FMA President Alan Pillersdorf said the unintended consequences of medical marijuana use are “serious and numerous enough for us to believe they constitute a public health risk for Floridians.” Opinion polling, however, suggests Amendment 2 is on course to victory. Doctor groups in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York came out against medical marijuana initiatives that voters approved anyway in their respective states. We don’t like Amendment 2 because we have never been in favor of altering the state constitution to enact things that should be left to the Legislature. The list of bad ideas that got ramrodded through in Florida via the amendment process is lengthy, with class-size limits and a high-speed rail system (RIP) near the top.
As is the case with a number of contentious issues, including same-sex marriage and abortion, the law and public opinion are continuing to evolve. That is the best way to handle such matters. Bypassing the legislative process, however flawed and ponderous, isn’t.