By Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief
Jeb Bush is adding his influential voice to the medical marijuana debate in Florida, saying the ballot initiative could harm Florida’s reputation.
“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,” Bush said in a statement. “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 believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”
Bush joined the the Florida Chamber, Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida and the Florida Trucking Association in the coalition fighting the initiative.
“Normally we focus on creating jobs, improving education and making Florida more competitive, but this is the type of business Florida can do without,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “I find it curious that the largest funder of this push to legalize pot is a personal injury trial lawyer firm, yet such measures are overwhelmingly opposed by Florida’s medical and law enforcement community. Florida voters are smart and when the facts are on the table, I believe they will say no to drugs in Florida.”
Wilson also raised concerns that growers, transporters, sellers, doctors, patients and caregivers involved in the transfer and administration of potent marijuana products will be given complete civil and criminal immunity under the amendment. “That,” he said, “is a huge red flag for Amendment 2.”
Sen. Marco Rubio also says he opposes the medical marijuana voters will decide in November, but Rubio said he supports the use of noneuphoric strains.