Joe Henderson: State's medical marijuana fight is past point of silly - Florida Politics

Joe Henderson: State’s medical marijuana fight is past point of silly

At some point maybe 10 or 20 years from now, the contortions used by the state of Florida to stall the use of medical marijuana will probably seem pretty silly.

Eventually, the drug 72 percent of voters approved for use by people suffering such hideous diseases as HIV, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) will be loosened from political reefer madness.


Those suffering from terminal diseases or just chronic pain will be able to smoke it, or even inhale!

That goes for the federal government too, which still bans marijuana use for even medical treatments.

Thanks to some political parlor tricks in May 2017, medical marijuana is available only in processed forms like oil or edible.

Opponents, probably hearkening back to the days when they didn’t get invited to the cool parties back in college, attached a ban on smoking medicinal weed.


Because the Florida Legislature often doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what voters really want.

That’s still happening, by the way.

After Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers last week lifted that absurd ban, correctly calling it unconstitutional, Gov. Rick Scott quickly announced the state would appeal.

That opened the door for Orlando high-powered attorney and foremost MM advocate John Morgan to call on Scott to stop the madness.

“Rick this type of meanness will COST you the US Senate seat,” Morgan tweeted.

And for emphasis, he added, “Don’t be like the others. Grow some brass ones!!”

It shouldn’t take brass ones to deal fairly with this. After all, the soon-to-be-former Governor and U.S. Senator-wannabe be would be siding with 72 percent of voters.

I’m betting that when most of those folks voted yes on the medical marijuana amendment, they did so with the expectation that users in dire need of relief would be smoking the weed, which is said to be the most efficient way to obtain relief.

At some point, all this begs the question: Whose side is the Governor on?

The Legislature has done some pretty snarky things over the years, but this was essentially an upraised middle finger on an issue that should be about compassion.

I had an aunt die of Parkinson’s years before medical marijuana became a thing.

Ever seen somebody with that disease?

One of the last times I spoke with her, I could barely make out her words, but I sure understood the desperation in her voice. She was begging for something, anything, to help.

What would the Governor have said to her?

Sorry lady, but smoking medical marijuana might be bad for your health?

My grandmother died the most painful way you can imagine, her fingers curled up from rheumatoid arthritis. Every part of her body was in agony. She was begging for death to come.

Pain is always somebody’s problem until you personally experience the real thing.

We’ve seen the crisis in this state and nation from opioid addiction. It’s legal to prescribe potent painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin, and they work well; oh yeah, they work. But they carry a horrible risk of addiction that can kill.

Would smoking medicinal weed be worse than that?

This is past the point of silly.

There is a time to stop being a politician and start being human.

I think we’re there.

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  1. Excellent, and I agree completely. My grandma had Parkinson’s and I know how much it would have helped her. I know it helps me.

    1. There is only one reason that cannabis is prohibited, and the is because it is the only way that government can “control” the MONEY! Most people are clueless to the fact that the government OWNS the majority of shares in the top corporations, and everything they do is to keep those corporations alive and at the top – it is the reason that they ALWAYS bail out the big banks, automakers, mortgage companies, etc.

      1. Thing is it’s an easy easy easy fix…they want money? Great. 50 dollars per plant grown…put it on our cards we have to renew every year…you wanna grow 10 plants? Send in 500$ and your new card will have a 10 in the corner…get caught with more, get a stiff fine…both parties are happy

  2. Absolutely agree. I hwve seen the help it provides to Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and other illnesses. it is cruel to say no to relief that is possible but prohibited simply because of the method of ingestion.

  3. I think Rick Scott’s siding comes from a long time ago when he was CEO of Columbia Healthcare and the associates he made there I knew of him then and i didnt vote for him for govenor, because of him that company is called HCA now i saw them literally cut Columbia off of the signs at certain hospitals in my area.

  4. Im a registered Rebupican! Dr didnt care if i died perscribed me opiods zanax…muscle relaxers.. Fetnal patches! 100mg. I never had fetnal bf . didnt ask for it either!! Trusted the dr . lmao. Fell face forward my kid riped off the patch. He knew what was happening. He thought i died.
    I have fybomyalgia, moderately deteriorated lower back, heal spurs and planterfyacias. And much more. I deserve some relief. Im not on any opiods or relaxers. Only motrin and cbd oil. Im still racked in pain! Misserable amounts of pain. Please allow me relief

    1. Pain and disease do not care about party affiliation. Marijuana might help you a lot, it has been a life saver for so many people I know.

  5. It’s not just addiction to pain killers that is a problem. Pharmaceuticals are hard on the body and not everyone wants to depend poisons to help them. Even at prescribed dosages, there is a danger of overdose. My 81 year old husband is in extreme pain all the time and can’t sleep more than two hours at a time because of it. To make matters worse, he can’t take pain pills, because of other health issues. He wants to try cannabis, but going to a specialist, buying a medical card, paying outrageous prices for cannabis, then having to regularly go back to a specialist is cost prohibited to someone on Social Security. Being an old farmer, he wants to grow it, but he can’t do that either. The state needs to quit wasting taxpayers money fighting this and legalize the possessing, smoking and growing of cannabis for everyone.

  6. Rick Scott as a RN I am sickened that our leaders KNOW unequivocally that cannabis kills cancer and cures and treats a multitude of illness yet you with hold this option. Shame on you! Your mother should be ashamed of you! I bet she raised you to be honest. Rick, this is as dishonest as it gets. You sir, are now personally responsible for the continuing illness and suffering of others. I have been a RN for 23 years and I am appalled that you alone sir have the ability to withdraw your appeal yet you choose to let the sick suffer. SHAME SHAME SHAME on you! I challenge you RICK SCOTT to attend the medical marijuana conference this weekend at Hyatt in Sarasota. At least get educated on what you oppose!!!!

    1. Very well said. It’s inhuman what this no brain is doing He won’t b getting my vote Let’s see if he takes the challenge the coward

  7. As a person suffering from chronic pain and nerve pain from Fibromyalgia, I know that marijuana works wonders. Why do the politicians have to be so opposed to something that provides relief to so many? What’s the harm in smoking it? It should be up to the pain sufferers!! Great post and thanks to John Morgan for fighting for us.

  8. I really hope he does nothing, and it costs him the Senate election. His stonewalling actions regarding medical cannabis have been nothing less than shameful. He placed Christian Bax in charge of the state’s medical marijuana office. Christian Bax has NO experience. He got the job because the governor’s assistant happens to be his sister. Governor Scott placed Bax there to delay and stonewall, which he has done.

    One of Bax’s many excuses for not issuing grower’s licenses was that they were “delayed by Hurricane Harvey”. Are you SERIOUS?!?! I wonder just how many state workers in the Office of Medical Marijuana in Tallahassee were called away for hurricane relief operations. I’d say NONE.

    I sincerely hope Gov Scott loses the election over this. Floridians and the American people deserve better than some self-serving career politician whose pockets are stuffed to the gills from Big Pharma money. I loathe him and I urge everyone to vote AGAINST him. Florida’s Medical Marijuana program is a complete disaster, by design. Beyond shameful.

  9. Sgt. Robert Johnson
    (Disable US Army Veteran). MMJ has help me with my chronic pain and depression issues since 2009. I was getting addicted to the conventional meds prescribe by the VA doctors. This probably saved my life.

  10. I’m glad the mainstream newspapers are are finally listening to the people who are suffering. My World War II Veteran father used medical cannabis for his Crohn’s, his PTSD and his chronic pain from being a Recon Jeep driver in World War II, his chronic pain from his arthritis and it put a smile on his face! What’s wrong with that, eh?
    For me I’m a clinician a dual diagnosis psychotherapist and the senior drug counselor licensed in Oregon and Ohio. I have been in the drug treatment trenches for 15 years. I have seen medical cannabis assist my clients in decreasing or eliminating their opioid use… getting off of crack, crank, and heroin or “hair-on” as they pronounce it in Cincy.

    I am now a disabled Veteran and Medical Cannabis has helped with my neuropathy and my chronic pain from my arthritis in hips, neck and hands/wrists. I was also a massage therapist for 25 years before I went back to graduate school for my doctorate in clinical Psych…so much for my hands. I pretty much worked with Vets and Native Americans since 2002.

    One of my young OEF-AFGHANISTAN Veteran clients, while working as a counselor at the Native American Health Center in Oakland was referred to me from Swords to Plowshares, was able to get off his opioid addiction (Complex Trauma), utilizing medical cannabis as an adjunctive to our Trauma Therapy. I can go on and on. I have seen medical cannabis Health natives when I worked at the Indian Health Service at Standing Rock when it was too far to get into Fort Yates for his pain meds.

    It works people and the prohibitionist are doing it for money for greed for politics out of willful ignorance. Nowadays there’s no excuse. Your clinical rationales are disappearing or becoming ludicrous in any clinical discussion.

    I can understand how most clinicians or still working from the propaganda and the lack of clinical studies from the past. The studies overseas as well as in this country are proving that medical cannabis simply works.

    The national academies for the advancement of science medicine and engineering in their paper from January of 2017 categorically stated medical cannabis works for chronic pain. Period.

  11. In California GOP registrations have fallen to third place, below No Party Preference. It seems as though the FL GOP is determined to see that happen here as well. Not only does Scott need to feel the voters’ wrath, every politician who has placed their opinion above the electorate’s will needs to begin feeling the heat.

  12. The war on drugs has been an expensive, abysmal failure. It has caused pain and suffering for countless American families and accomplished nothing. Keeping medicine from the sick after the people of our state spoke is just icing on the cake. Prohibitionists belong in one place: prison. Lock them up and make them do some hard labor for crimes against humanity. Rebuilding our infrastructure with free labor would be a geat perk!

  13. My husband will be 85 years old next month and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 16 months ago. his main symptom were and rigidity or stiffness of his right-hand side.he also had some difficulty writing. The original diagnosis was confirmed three months later by a second neurologist. He was on one tablet of pramipexole (Sifrol), 0.25 mg three times a day. Four months ago his neurologist added Biperiden, 2 mg. he takes half a tablet of Biperiden three times a day. He still didn’t feel any better, Since the original diagnosis, his stiffness has slowly increased. He lost touch with reality suspecting it was the medication I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started him on PD natural herbal formula we ordered from NATURAL HERBAL GARDENS, I spoke to few people who used the treatment here in Canada and they all gave a positive response, his symptoms totally declined over a 7 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s disease natural herbal formula. He is now almost 85 and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed! (Visit their website www .naturalherbalgardens. com) I am thankful to nature, herbs are truly gift from God. Share with friends!!

  14. There is only one reason that cannabis is prohibited, and the is because it is the only way that government can “control” the MONEY! Most people are clueless to the fact that the government OWNS the majority of shares in the top corporations, and everything they do is to keep those corporations alive and at the top – it is the reason that they ALWAYS bail out the big banks, automakers, mortgage companies, etc.

  15. I voted for medical marijuana to be injested via a pill or liquid.
    I DID NOT VOTE for smoking dope!
    This is a scam perpetrated by some slick money hungry folks to legalize recreational marijuana.
    Don’t be fooled people, there’s a big difference between marijuana grown following strict guidelines legally using a pure strain called Charlottes Web & garbage plants produced in “GROW HOUSES” in your neighborhood!

    1. Please read completely the amendment 2 that you voted for.
      Patients are already legally using High THC cannabis as well as Charlotte’s Web (CBD strain). Try to learn more. This medication is real and very effective. For most patients, the CBD works best when combined with THC. Many qualifying medical conditions are being safely treated with high THC. However, Florida’s patients are only allowed processed oils, and not the natural form of the plant. This is different from all other states’ medical programs. Florida requires expensive patients’ licenses, high priced secondary doctors, and overpriced, over processed, over packaged oils and vapes instead of the natural herb. Patients need the choice of the low cost natural form, instead of just the processed stuff that also usually has questionable chemicals added. The natural, organic, unprocessed flower also contains beneficial trace elements (stripped out in the processing) that make it work better than many of the concentrates. The law, as it was passed by the people, did not prohibit the medical use of the natural form of the plant!
      If the state will also allow patients to raise a few plants, instead of paying hundreds of dollars each month, a patient could grow, or have a caretaker to grow, some or all of their medicine.
      You probably have house plants or know people who do. Five or ten potted plants is not a grow house. This is not something to fear.
      What if you were not allowed to grow your own tomatoes? Or even buy them fresh? What if the only forms in which you could legally eat tomatoes were ketchup and spaghetti sauce?

  16. Joe, just got back from the NADCP Conference in Houston. If you bothered to look into the science behind current-day marijuana, you’d understand why it is AGAINST THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC to legalize another mind-altering drug. Today’s marijuana is laced with far worse drugs – Hey Joey, this ain’t your mom’s marijuana. Get a clue.

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