The Catholic Church has medical marijuana in its sights.
Florida’s Catholic bishops are expressing concerns over the medicinal cannabis initiative—Amendment 2—set to go before the voters in the upcoming November election.
On Tuesday, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement on the initiative, pointing out some areas of high anxiety, including the fact that it places no THC cap on pot edibles and poses a risk to children.
“While there could be beneficial applications to the proposed use of marijuana, voters must carefully assess the risks and anticipated problems involved in amending the Florida Constitution to garner them,” the bishops wrote, explaining what they believe to be a “problematic framework” in the proposed regulations of Amendment 2.
Orlando attorney John Morgan, a Catholic himself and the investor of millions of dollars of his own money into the campaign to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the Sunshine State, says this is the first time he has heard any opposition for the proposal coming from the bishops.
“I would tell the bishops we are here because the Florida Legislature refuses to act,” Morgan told the Tallahassee Democrat. “If we have to wait for the Legislature, this will never happen because they are in the pocket of Big Pharma.”
If voters approve Amendment 2 this November, which is expected to happen, the new law would allow patients suffering from a variety of health conditions to have access to full-strength cannabis and derivatives. A couple of years ago, the State Legislature passed a weak low-THC bill for people with epilepsy and terminal illnesses, but the restrictive nature of the program has left hundreds of thousands of patients out in the cold.
It is for this reason that Morgan believes the bishops may have spoken out of school when offering their opposition to Amendment 2, a proposal that would have become law in 2014 had it not been for Florida’s uniquely bizarre 60 percent rule for ballot measures.
“I would ask the Bishops to look into people’s medicine cabinets. There is stuff in there that will kill you,” Morgan said. “I look at it this way: man made pills while God made marijuana. I’m going to stand with God every time.”
For now, Florida’s bishops seem to be standing with a higher power more tangible in the eyes of the great American way—an old billionaire. It was recently revealed that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has contributed $1 million to Drug Free Florida in hopes of stopping the initiative from being passed in 2016. Two years ago, Adelson gave $5 million to prevent the success of United for Care, with reports showing this year’s number could be closer to $7 million by the time the election is all said and done.
Nevertheless, some of the latest polls show Amendment 2 will reign victorious in 2016. Somewhere around 80 percent of Florida’s voters are expected to support medical marijuana at the ballot this November.
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