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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Wasserman Schultz has 'concerns' with Florida medical marijuana move

UPDATE 2 p.m.: Democratic donor John Morgan rips into Wasserman Schultz in an interview with the Miami Herald. “I know personally the most-powerful players in Washington DC. And I can tell you that Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t just disliked. She’s despised. She’s an irritant."

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: The DNC issues statement: “She was speaking as a mom and a member of congress on her personal concerns on a local issue. The DNC has not taken an official position on this ballot initiative. We leave it to the good people of Florida to make that decision.”

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Friday: United for Care responds (see below)

ORIGINAL: With a pro-medical marijuana group going after her for a vote against a measure limiting federal involvement in the issue, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued this statement to the Tampa Bay Times:

“I voted against the Farr-Rohrabacher amendment because I do not believe, regardless of the issue, that it is appropriate to limit the Executive Branch’s ability to enforce current federal law at their discretion.

“More broadly, I am supportive of evidence-based medical marijuana treatment, such as in the case of controlling epileptic seizures in children and easing cancer pain with a low-THC, tablet form of the drug. I therefore look forward to Governor Scott signing the so-called ‘Charlotte’s Web’ bill that he was presented with today. I am supportive of the expansion of its use as a medical treatment if evidence proves its effectiveness.

“Pertaining to the ballot initiative in Florida, I have concerns that it is written too broadly and stops short of ensuring strong regulatory oversight from state officials. Other states have shown that lax oversight and ease of access to prescriptions can lead to abuse, fraud, and accidents. Also, given Florida’s recent history in combating the epidemic of ‘pill mills’ and dubious distinction as having among the highest incidents of fraud, I do not believe we should make it easier for those seeking to abuse the drug to have easy access to it.

“As a cancer survivor, mother and lawmaker, I am acutely empathetic to the suffering of people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain. My view is that approval of the use of marijuana as a medical treatment should be handled responsibly and in a regulated manner that ensures its approval does not do more harm than good.”

UPDATE: United for Care, a group supporting the medical marijuana ballot measure, responds:

“Ms. Wasserman Schultz says she feels Amendment 2 is too broad, but in fact it’s quite specific. It establishes the right of a physician to recommend medical marijuana to a patient with a debilitating condition if its use would offer that patient relief. It then asks the Florida Department of Health to build a regulatory framework that makes it possible for that person to have access to the medicine he or she needs. It’s difficult to say whether Ms. Wasserman Schultz believes sick people should be kept from their medicine, or whether she thinks the public servants at the Department of Health are incompetent and would implement the amendment irresponsibly, but both positions are puzzling, unfortunate and wrong.”

[Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2014 2:00pm]


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