Medical marijuana opponents are using Halloween to scare up votes against Amendment 2.
- Amendment 2 legalizes medical marijuana in Florida
- Essentially failed 2014 amendment with tweaks
- Needs 60 percent of vote to pass
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With children dressed in Halloween costumes like a Jedi, pirate and Chewbacca by his side, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings warned about children getting hold of edible marijuana products like candy during Halloween 2017.
Demings held a news conference at the Children's Safety Village of Central Florida Monday morning. He said ingestible pot products may be an unintended consequence of passing Amendment 2, approving medical marijuana in Florida.
"As a sheriff, I believe that the passing of the [Amendment 2] can be problematic and will negatively impact the overall public safety of our community," said Demings.
Demings is president of the Florida Sheriff's Association, which opposes Amendment 2.
Medical marijuana supporters disagree.
"This argument that children are going to get a hold of edibles and it's going to cause them harm is absolutely absurd," said attorney Matt Morgan. The Morgan family supports People United for Medical Marijuana. "If one wanted to cause a child harm during Halloween, they could put rat poison in a Reese's Cup."
"Why would they give a child an edible lollipop as has been suggested by the No on 2 campaign?" Morgan added.
A report by The Journal of the American Medical Association Network released last month did show an increase in the amount of children hospitalized after eating marijuana edibles after the drug was legalized in Colorado.
But in Colorado marijuana is legal for recreational as well as medical use, which means more people have access to it.
The ballot language for medical marijuana would allow the drug to be processed into products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils or ointments. Only state approved medical marijuana treatment centers would be able to cultivate, process and sell medical marijuana to qualifying patients.
While the details are vague, it is up to the state and the Florida Dept. of Health to write the specific rules on medical marijuana, should the amendment pass.
Members of The Don't Let Florida Go To Pot Coalition say children could mistake edible marijuana for regular candy because of misleading or a lack of labeling.
"They are made to look like a lot of commercial products," said Dr. Alfred Aleguas, the Managing Dirctor of the Florida Poison Control Center in Tampa. "We have a real problem and issue with that because it is just a potential for, unintentional, inadvertent ingestion by young children."
Morgan said it's possible to allow medical marijuana and still keep children safe.
"Ultimately the legislature will do their job and regulate this amendment in accordance with the way they're supposed to do their job," Morgan said. "A fair and just way and we're confident that they will pass legislation that makes sure that children are protected, that families are protected and that patients have the access to medication that they need via marijuana."
Amendment 2 needs 60 percent approval from Florida voters to pass. It failed in 2014 with 58 percent of the vote.