Florida Medical Association Passes Resolution Opposing Medical Cannabis
The Florida Medical Association’s House of Delegates recently voted on a resolution that restated their opposition to medical cannabis, and declared their opposition to Amendment 2. Resolution 14-301 was unanimously adopted at the Florida Medical Association’s July conference. The association’s new resolution seems to contradict the position the association took earlier this year when it came out in favor of SB 1030, and endorsed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, which legalized a low-THC medical cannabis program.
Language of Resolution Contradicts FMA’s Support for SB 1030
Prior to coming out in favor of SB 1030, the association had adopted a policy, P 307.001, “Medical Marijuana Use Not Supported or Substantiated,” which rejected the medical use of cannabis. The language of Resolution 14-301 states that, “The FMA opposes consideration of any initiative or policy supporting the use of medical marijuana in Florida; and further the FMA supports and adopts the following policy statements from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM): 1. That cannabis, cannabis-based products, and cannabis delivery devices should be subject to the same standards that are applicable to other prescription medications and medical devices and that these products should not be distributed or otherwise provided to patients unless and until such products or devices have received marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration.”
While the association’s position on SB 1030 seems to be up in the air, it is clear Amendment 2 was the main target of this resolution, concluding with the following, “RESOLVED, That the Florida Medical Association (FMA) oppose Amendment 2, the constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for medical conditions.”
FMA Rejects Health Related Ballot Initiatives
The association also takes the position that people are not smart enough to make such choices, slamming ballot initiatives and other processes where citizens have a voice in the legislative process, when it comes to approving access to medicines; instead the association believes that only doctors and the federal government can determine if a medicine should be available to treat patients. The resolution states that the Florida Medical Association, “Rejects a process whereby State and local ballot initiatives approve medicines because these initiatives are being decided by individuals not qualified to make such decisions (based upon a careful science-based review of safety and efficacy, standardization and formulation for dosing, or provide a means for a regulated, closed system of distribution for marijuana which is a CNS drug with abuse potential).”
FMA Urges Doctors to Refuse to Provide Patients Access to Cannabis
The association’s resolution also called on doctors and other medical professionals to refuse to provide access to medical cannabis. Stating that the association, “Recommends its members and other physician organizations and their members reject responsibility for providing access to cannabis and cannabis-based products until such time that these materials receive marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration.” The President of the Florida Medical Association, Dr. Alan B. Pillersdorf, M.D., said in a statement that, “We recommend that other physician organizations and their members responsibly reject this Amendment, which would provide improper access to cannabis and cannabis-based products.” In the prepared statement, the Florida Medical Association claimed their opposition to Amendment 2 is based on an obligation to the Hippocratic oath.
A statement released by the pro-Amendment 2 organization United For Care said of the FMA’s new resolution, “The association’s stance apparently does not take into account the many scientific studies, as well as copious anecdotal evidence, pointing to the efficacy of medical marijuana in alleviating symptoms from a wide range of debilitating diseases and conditions.” The FMA’s resolution puts them at odds with 88% of Florida voters and Florida’s largest health care union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of Florida, which endorsed medical cannabis and Amendment 2 on Tuesday June 24th. Joined by other health care professionals and organizations through out Florida and the rest of the country endorsing medical cannabis is the SEIU of Florida.
Attempts to reach Jeff Scott, the General Counsel for the Florida Medical Association, about the resolution and the association’s position on SB 1030 were unsuccessful.