Monday, June 16, 2014

Rick Scott Signs Charlotte’s Web Bill

Gov. Rick Scott really wants to get re-elected. Scott had previously been against medical marijuana. Polls have shown Floridians overwhelmingly supporting medical marijuana. Smart GOP consultants like Rick Wilson saw how the Right was losing this fight. Wilson made these remarks to the Orlando Sentinel.

“Society is changing. Republicans can let some steam out of this and take the issue away from Charlie Crist and John Morgan by proving they have a heart and are responsive to people,” GOP consultant Rick Wilson said.

“This is a no-brainer for people with a political head and compassionate heart.”

Wilson said the wing of the party still resistant to marijuana-legalization issues – evangelicals and “tough on crime” conservatives who have been anti-drug for 25 years – have largely won the fight over abortion (with public opinion shifting in their favor), lost the fight over gay marriage, and are making drug legalization “the hill they die on.”

“I do not think that’s an effective position to be in,” he said.

Wilson sent me this message on Twitter.

Q: Need an on-the-record quote on why you think GOP should drop opposition to medical marijuana. DM me.

Wilson: Because society has moved past reefer madness, witnessed the failure of the war on drugs, and the pro-freedom position is to move on.

Scott is usually politically tone deaf. However, someone must have pointed out to him that attorney John Morgan will use Amendment 2 to help bring out the vote for Charlie Crist. Morgan is a longtime Crist supporter and the main financial backer of United For Care. UFC is the main group responsible for placing Amendment 2 on the November ballot.

Ballot language for Amendment 2.
The official ballot text reads as follows:

"Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana."

In order to take some momentum away from Amendment 2, Scott signed 1030. Low levels of THC medical marijuana will be allowed for patients. The patients must have medical needs that qualify for the compassionate use registry. A related bill Scott signed, SB 1700, would keep the names of the patients on the compassionate use registry confidential. The exceptions would be law enforcement investigations, department regulating and doctors filling out a prescription.

Scott statement on signing SB 1030.

“The approval of Charlotte’s Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illnesses will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life,” Scott said in a news release.

It's all about the kids for Rick Scott. It has nothing to do with the possibility that Amendment 2 might help get out the vote for Crist. Except that back in January, Scott said he would not support a state constitutional amendment to make medical marijuana legal.

"I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative," he said in a statement provided to CNN by a spokesman. "But, having seen the terrible affects (sic) of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it."

It is not the children for Rick Scott. It is about Amendment 2.

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