Columns

Let's Explore Cannabidiol but Reject Dangerous Medical Marijuana Amendment

By: Rep. Jimmie Smith | Posted: February 10, 2014 3:55 AM
Jimmie Smith

Rep. Jimmie Smith

This November voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to allow so-called medical marijuana in Florida.

As a parent, the amendment forces me to ask myself: Would I want my daughter, when she becomes a teenager, smoking marijuana to alleviate premenstrual cramps, anxiety from school exams or difficulty concentrating during class? The answer is no, and I'll tell you why.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, any physician licensed in Florida could sign a physician certification stating that, in his or her professional opinion, my teenage daughter suffers from a condition for which the physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for the patient. This physician certification is based upon the physician's professional opinion.

Most people don't realize that the amendment isn't limited to medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine. As a result, a chiropractor, optometrist, physician assistant or psychiatrist could certify marijuana use for patients.

As a parent, I am performing my due diligence in reviewing the available scientific research on marijuana. What I am finding is that the future of medical marijuana lies in its individual components that can be isolated in a nonsmokable form like an oil, pill or cream. I am also finding that there is an expedited need for research and development of cannabis-based derivatives like Cannabidiol or CBD. It's important to distinguish THC, the psychotropic derivative of the cannabis plant that causes a "high," from CBD.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved clinical trials for the use of CBD in treating severe forms of childhood epilepsy that don't respond to anti-epileptic drugs. I have heard from countless parents who have exhausted every available treatment, medication and even surgery to stop their child's seizures. We are only beginning to realize the vast potential for cannabis-derived therapies, but we must do it right.

As a policymaker, I am not going to stand in the way of advancements in science and medicine while patients needlessly suffer. I want patients to have access to the safest and most effective forms of cannabis-derived therapies administered by a medical doctor or osteopathic physician who can further the research and development of new therapies by monitoring their efficacy.

The proposed constitutional amendment gives patients false hope in a form of marijuana that is neither safe nor effective, especially for pediatric and adolescent patients. Nature's pharmacy has provided us with a plant whose compounds should be utilized in the safest, most effective way. It's time for us to start thinking about cannabis as we would any other medicine and stop burying our heads in the sand.



Republican Jimmie Smith, whose District 34 office is in Lecanto, is deputy whip in the Florida House. He is serving his second term. Read his profile on the myfloridahouse.gov website
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Comments (25)

Mike
12:26PM MAR 17TH 2014
Ridiculous. As a chemist and compounding pharmacist, a Doctor of Pharmacy, and a licensed healthcare professional with the State of Florida, AND as someone who usually votes in line with the Republican Party, I could not disagree more. I seriously can't believe that this is even an issue. Legalize marijuana, legalize the synthesis of its components, and let people reap the benefits. The current legal position is just a repeat of the absurdity of prohibition, and, unlike ethanol (consumable alcohol), marijuana has real medical benefits, both in regard to suppression of undesired various symptoms produced by a wide array of ailments and as an actual treatment to reduce disease progression. I'm disgusted with this political posturing by both politicians and the AMA.
Progressive_Patriot
5:50PM FEB 28TH 2014
What a dolt. Still selling fear after all these years. Thing is, nobody buys it anymore. Smith needs to climb back into the Republican/Tea Party clown car and ride off into the sunset on this. YesOn2! this November and tell these clueless bureaucrats that we're old enough not to be told what do!
ihydrocarbon
10:30AM FEB 13TH 2014
Contrary to as the article's author implies, U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507 describes both THC and CBD as safe and effective.


The patent, assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services is entitled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants".

A careful reading of the patent's references reveals dozens of reputable studies and supporting patents that explore safe mechanisms of cannabis and it's preparations.


So, is marijuana lawfully listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act as having no safe, accepted medical use in the United States?

Remember that 3/4 of a million Americans are arrested each year on the basis of a law that was:


- started with perjury before Congress,


- applies scheduling that continues to be false on it's face 

- initiated by Nixon who drank heavily on the job

- written by Rhenquist the pill popper and


- used by DEA and local police as an excuse to suppress evidence under policies called "parallel construction"

How many are killed because people choose more dangerous, "legal" alternatives?

Are local and federal governments financially liable to those who have been falsely arrested, denied economic freedoms or loved ones?
A. Rosenthal ARNP
4:27PM FEB 11TH 2014
If your teenage daughter wanted to get marijuana right now, all she would have to do is go up to any dealer and say "hey give me an 8th"... hell, she could probably just text someone and have it brought to her. No doctor's visits, no prescription required, no age verification. Dealers don't ask and don't care if she's under 18. I know it may not be the case in your social circle of rich old white men, but it's EXTREMELY easy for high school and college-age people to get marijuana if they want it. I'm pushing 30 and I can still think of at least a handful of people I could call up right now to get weed if I wanted it. They don't care if I have a doctor's recommendation. Having to go through the dispensary system is actually much more difficult than buying on the 'black market'. I've never had a drug dealer check my ID when making a purchase. There is no limit on quantity, and most of the time, they don't know what strain they're selling you. The potency of the marijuana is unknown. If you think marijuana being illegal is going to keep your daughter from getting it, you're living in a dream world. The next time your daughter has menstrual cramps, send her my way, and I'll write her a prescription for some good ole oxycontin. Morphine, dilaudid... anything but marijuana, right?
Freeman
10:59AM FEB 11TH 2014
Another republican ,,,,it's about the money,,not liberty or medical necessity.
bob lange
7:18AM FEB 11TH 2014
Its nice that a handful of distressed parents have convinced you to bypass the FDA approval process for their babies, but everybody else csn go jump in the lake. If you genuinely believe that cannabis medicines should be researched, maybe you should sign the petition to have cannabis rescheduled so it can be studied. No, that wouldn't follow your handlers credo that there isn't such a thing as medical marijuana. I guess the cancer patients need better representation than you will ever offer.
bob lange
7:18AM FEB 11TH 2014
Its nice that a handful of distressed parents have convinced you to bypass the FDA approval process for their babies, but everybody else csn go jump in the lake. If you genuinely believe that cannabis medicines should be researched, maybe you should sign the petition to have cannabis rescheduled so it can be studied. No, that wouldn't follow your handlers credo that there isn't such a thing as medical marijuana. I guess the cancer patients need better representation than you will ever offer.
teresa lopez
12:58AM FEB 11TH 2014
? for Jimmy - The parent…. If ur adult child suffers a major injury and has chronic pain would u rather her consume synthetic Herion, Oxycontin, Methadone? Would u rather her have the choice to consume medical Mj?
Ken
11:29PM FEB 10TH 2014
I'd like to share a few points with you, as you seem to have missed the memos.

1. As a parent, your child is prescribed no drug without your own (or your partner's) direct understanding and consent.
2. Your underlying theme has nothing to do with marijuana legislation, or patients who benefit from its use (young and old alike).
3. Your self righteous and misleading position trumpets Bio/Chem Co's & Gov. CONTROL Jimmie - that's your hook, and you are a pusher-man.
4. If your daughter felt like smoking pot - there isn't a damn thing you could do about it.

Jimmie T - look in the mirror. Do you see the chucklehead looking back at you?

KK
Dean
10:37PM FEB 10TH 2014
I take legal opiates, and get a buzz often. I also take legal muscle relaxatents,soma, same outcome. Despite over a year of use i am not addicted, often skipping doses. How you wonder? Medical Marijuana allows me to control the pain on mild to moderate days. Take that away and I would be addicted, probably to far stronger, and deadlier opiates. MM also helps with my copd and has improved my quality of life in many ways. The proposed variant has no pain control ability. Take away my MM and I would have to risk my life with stronger, far more dangerous. Then, let us look at the political. Republicans claim to be the party of personal responsibility and rights. Then, as the hypocrits they lie and exagerate to damage the case for MM. Shame on them for violating their responsibilities to ALL of the citizens in Florida. Shame
teresa lopez
12:59AM FEB 11TH 2014
Im W ya on that one!
god christlord
6:21PM FEB 10TH 2014
Go [filtered word] yourself jimbo.
Jaene Leonard
5:16PM FEB 10TH 2014
With all due respect to your due diligence, Mr. Smith, there are a couple of things I think you're confused about.

Firstly, with regard to any future issues your daughter may experience, until she is eighteen, she is exclusively under your care and it is up to you to decide whether or not cannabis is a viable treatment option for her. Once she is eighteen, you can both have an informed discussion about the pros and cons of cannabis. Maybe you'll smoke a joint together to see what it's like in the same way you might drink champagne together at her wedding (after she's 21, of course).

Secondly, there is a strange movement happening in this country to dissect the cannabis plant, use only this part or that part based on (oh, no!) the perils of one's possibility of getting stoned. This doesn't come as a surprise to those of us in the cannabis industry. One need only look at the ways our once-healthy food has been dissected in laboratories and then re-enriched with vitamins for a supposed better (and cheaper) way to nutrition. Any doctor will now tell you that whole foods are the best way to go with regard to nutrition. So that experiment FAILED. One would think we'd learn our lesson.

I work in a holistic health center and medical cannabis facility in California. Every day I see the benefits that cannabis brings to patients -- those with, as you mentioned, cramps, anxiety and difficulty concentrating. But I also see those using cannabis to treat insomnia, PTSD, glaucoma, asthma, depression, stomach and digestive issues, chronic pain, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis. We also take calls daily from parents all over the country -- decent parents, just like yourself -- who want the best for their children and have come to the place where pharmaceuticals have failed them (and often miserably). They are desperate to try cannabis for their sick children. Many of these parents, in case you've missed all the media coverage, are moving en masse to Colorado and Washington in order to have free, safe access to medicines that should be available to everyone in this country. Period.

(For reference, please see CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta's documentary, "Weed.")

Whole-plant cannabis has also been linked to a cure for cancer (there's more on this in the Gupta doc). A man called our center just last week and said he healed his own progressive esophogeal cancer with WHOLE PLANT CANNABIS OIL.

This movement to legalize only parts of the cannabis plant is dangerous, and is counterproductive. It does, however, fall in line with our country's history of tearing things down in order to (try) and build them better (and cheaper) in a laboratory. This ideology has made a lot of people rich, but has failed the rest of us who seek the highest quality of life for ourselves and our families.

The synthesis of THC and CBD is what delivers the most healing benefits. This is a new frontier. We have the opportunity to do things right. Let's focus on safe access and clean cannabis.

I urge you to reconsider your support of this effort to tear apart the plant that has healed people for thousands of years. Come spend a day with me and see the needs we serve in the community.

Legalization should come in whole-plant form, just as the healing does.
Insideoutgraphics
4:20PM FEB 10TH 2014
It seems that Rep. Smith is pushing for a Big PharmCo approach. Given various corporations have been very busy applying for patents, from telecom to pharmaceutical companies.

And I doubt a Dr. will prescribe cannabis for menstrual cramps. There are certainly many OTC medicines to treat cramps. Has he ever thought of the medications that are actually prescribed to children? We are a nation on medications. And he's concerned about his daughter , that she may be prescribed cannabis for cramps?

Lets try to get it legalized for actual disorders that have been scientifically proven to treat various forms of seizure disorders , as well as many other disorders, rather than tossing out the OH no! What if my teenage daughter is prescribed cannabis for cramps. Then may I suggest you say no to the Dr. and go to Walgreens and pick of an OTC remedy.

It seems he wants it both ways.As well as attempting to scare and push the entire debate towards demonizing naturally grown cannabis.

BTW, Sir You are aware of the horrendous side effects from prescription drugs that have already been prescribed to children in this country that many consider as causing a "High" effect? And those meds actually have killed . So I really have no idea where the Rep. is going with this. Just my opinion.
Jim B
4:01PM FEB 10TH 2014
"The proposed constitutional amendment gives patients false hope in a form of marijuana that is neither safe nor effective, especially for pediatric and adolescent patients."
This entire statement discredits his thinly veiled attempt to be remotely interested, since it is entirely false. Calling marijuana "dangerous and ineffective" is still that whole reefer madness mentality...
Insideoutgraphics
4:08PM FEB 10TH 2014
Agreed!
Karen Goldstein
3:09PM FEB 10TH 2014
As a parent, your job is to teach your child and to instill the values in which you believe. If you do your job well, your child will become the type of young adult that you admire, who will make the decisions of which you approve. There should not have to be a law, which will prohibit many other Floridians access to a medicine which may be the right one for them, just because you fear that your daughter may not meet your standards.
As for the efficacy and safety of cannabis, thousands of years of its use as medicine have given us an indication of just how effective it is. And although many of the FDA-approved meds have horrible, even deadly, side effects, there are no deaths related to the use of cannabis.
As the parent of a daughter who has epilepsy, which is controlled by cannabis in conjunction with traditional medicine, my motive in bringing medical marijuana to the Sunshine State, is selfish. My daughter, a college educator, lives in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Why should she not be able to come home to Florida to visit me without fear of having a seizure because she cannot fully medicate?
Brion Eduardo
2:22PM FEB 10TH 2014
Rep. Jimmie Smith fears the proposed constitutional amendment because it would enable patients and physicians, and endanger the careers of GOP politicians.
Joey
11:56AM FEB 10TH 2014
Oh give me a break. There is a reason medical marijuana enjoys overwhelming support in every single state where it has been implemented. This reefer madness nonsense has got to stop. Marijuana is life saving medicine, and patients deserve access. All of the so call "abuse" on earth means less than nothing. It's a nontoxic plant for crying out loud, who cares about some stoner getting stoned? I sure dont.
BossIlluminati
11:50AM FEB 10TH 2014
the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

the #1 crop in california is marijuana and it's illegal in the United States, you wonder why my cali never listens to the feds, lol

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not one southern state, wow, i gave you 20 years now i'm taking over and changing the south for you

love and freedom forever, time to vote out Mr. Smith

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS!!!33
BossIlluminati
11:50AM FEB 10TH 2014
the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

the #1 crop in california is marijuana and it's illegal in the United States, you wonder why my cali never listens to the feds, lol

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not one southern state, wow, i gave you 20 years now i'm taking over and changing the south for you

love and freedom forever, time to vote out Mr. Smith

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS!!!33
LaughingOutLoud
11:49AM FEB 10TH 2014
Now change all the 'marijuana' words with 'alcohol' or 'prescription drugs' - let's see which one people use the most to abuse and DIE of. Let's see some facts and studies to prove your article, please. Thanks.
educated
11:09AM FEB 10TH 2014
Again another politician playing Doctor. Please show your credentials that allow you to make a broad statement such as "The proposed constitutional amendment gives patients false hope in a form of marijuana that is neither safe nor effective, especially for pediatric and adolescent patients.". You should let it be known that that is your opinion instead of stating it as fact. In your 'research' that you claimed you've done, did you learn that you don't have to smoke marijuana to get it's benefits? You can ingest it in oil form, pill form, you can even have a topiary cream that you rub on your skin. However I don't think you went so far in you so called 'research' to learn these things. You must have suffered from cancer at one point and smoked a joint and thought 'nah this didnt do anything for me' to make such claims that you're making in your article. Please do some more research, maybe some unbiased research.
Dean
9:35AM FEB 10TH 2014
Here we go. Another politician speaks and the rest of us are supposed to take his word and do as he says. Rubbish! Too bad he has no clue, yet puts his uninformed opinion out as fact. Oh well, I saw this coming. Just hope that Floridians prove smarter than the blivets in office.
Steve
9:18AM FEB 10TH 2014
Well Mr. Knowitall, you provided lots of opinions and "so called" suff...so now let's back up your stuff with sources of your information.

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