Sparks fly in medical marijuana debate

John Morgan and Dr. Jessica Spencer debate the merits medical marijuana ballot initiative.

The heated battle over legalizing medical marijuana this election ignited in a debate.

The man who's been bankrolling a big part of Amendment 2, attorney John Morgan, takes on Dr. Jessica Spencer who works with drug addiction.

“There’s another made-up lie,” says Dr. Spencer.  Morgan’s response: “Google it.”

Morgan and Spencer didn't wait long before taking off the gloves in the debate over medical marijuana Tuesday night in Orlando, sparring over whether the proposed amendment would help people with debilitating conditions or hurt others by providing access to the drug.

“There's no conclusive evidence that marijuana as an entire plant works as medicine,” said Spencer.

“What this is is a cure, a help, for really, really sick people,” Morgan responded, using his brother Tim as an example.

The amendment asks voters to approve the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions determined by a licensed doctor. The Florida Department of Health would regulate dispensaries and issue ID cards to patients and caregivers.

Commercials by “No on 2” claim marijuana will be “…marketed to kids, sold next to schools…”

“They're not going to have gummy bears hanging on a rack next to a school with marijuana in it. It's preposterous,” said Morgan. He believes opponents are using scare tactics.

“The zoning out for the dispensaries will be determined by the cities. What the edibles can be packaged in will be determined by the state,” Morgan added.

Dr. Spencer insists that's not how the constitutional amendment is written and the wording can't be changed.

“This is de facto legalization of marijuana, simply by the way they wrote it," she retorted. "If you didn't want them near schools, and you wanted to protect our communities, you should've written it in there.  That language actually allows for any of the symptomology associated with those conditions to qualify someone for marijuana."

Morgan told 10News that the debate was his final before the election, but both campaigns will continue their final three-week push with more ads before leaving the issue in the hands of voters.

Morgan estimates between this election and the last, he's spent nearly $10 million of his own money on amendments.

Dr. Spencer insists "No on 2" is not receiving money from the pharmaceutical industry for the campaign.

Amendment 2 requires 60 percent of voters' support in order to pass. It failed with 57 percent in 2014.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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