Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush has come out against Amendment 2,  joining a coalition of fellow Amendment 2 opponents such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, and the Florida Trucking Association in the coalition fighting the initiative.

According to Reuters, Bush said that, “Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire. Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts.” “I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November,” Bush added. The former Governor believes that Amendment 2 would hurt Florida's family-friendly reputation.

Supporters of Amendment 2 React to Jeb Bush's Comments

According to Reuters, Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager for United for Care, was surprised to hear Jeb Bush come out against Amendment 2, saying that Bush had, “a position so out of step with the voters who twice elected him to the highest office in the state.” Howard Simon, the ACLU of Florida's Executive Director, also criticized former Governor Bush's involvement in the campaign. In a statement on the ACLU of Florida's website, Simon said, “Once again, Jeb Bush is trying to impose his views on medical treatment on Florida patients.” “Amendment 2 is about allowing people suffering from debilitating conditions to access treatment plans that include using marijuana as a medicine, with the supervision of a doctor, to alleviate their pain and suffering."

Howard Simon and others with the ACLU of Florida say this is just another example of Bush interfering with the rights of doctors and patients. “Opponents of the amendment seem to hope that the people of Florida will have forgotten Jeb’s history of using government to invade people’s medical choices, such as when he used his power as governor to push aside years of court decisions that determined that Terri Schiavo would not have wanted to be kept alive in a vegetative state.  He then attempted to command the machinery of state government to force feed a person who was brain dead.” “The ACLU was part of the legal team that represented Michael Schiavo and successfully opposed the Jeb Bush-led government intervention into Schiavo ‘s treatment.” “Jeb Bush was wrong about limiting patients’ rights then and he is wrong now. You would think that after his shameful performance in the Terri Schiavo tragedy Jeb Bush would be too embarrassed to offer any advice on the rights and well-being of patients. These are medical decisions to be made by doctors about what is best for their patients; it is not a role for politicians.”

Bush Still Believes States Have A Right To Legalize Cannabis

However, Bush isn't against letting other states experiment, the former Governor of the Sunshine State sees it as a states rights issue. While campaigning in support of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election,  according to the Kansas City Star, Bush told reporters that, “I think states ought to have the right to decide these things. I think the federal government's role in our lives is way too overreaching.”