Debbie Wasserman Schultz Calls Medical Marijuana Initiative "Too Broad" (UPDATE)
Update: National Press Secretary for the Democratic Party Mike Czin has released a statement concerning Wasserman Schultz's comments.
"She was speaking as a mom and a member of congress on her personal concerns on a local issue," Czin says. "The Democratic National Committee has not taken an official position on this ballot initiative. We leave it to the good people of Florida to make that decision."
Medical marijuana's biggest financial backer, John Morgan, is speaking out against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's stance on medical marijuana.
Wasserman Schultz voted against a bill that would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration from targeting medical marijuana operations in states where it is legal.
Wasserman Schulz released a statement over her vote, saying that she doesn't believe "it is appropriate to limit the Executive Branch's ability to enforce current federal law at their discretion."
In her statement, however, she also took the stance that Amendment 2 is written too broadly, using the pill-mill argument some anti-medical weed groups have been using to justify her vote against the bill.
Wasserman Shultz says she backs medical marijuana, and believes in the treatment of certain ailments with medical weed.
But, she says, Florida's ballot initiative to get medical marijuana legalized concerns her.
"I have concerns that it is written too broadly and stops short of ensuring strong regulatory oversight from state officials," Wasserman Shultz says in her statement. "Other states have shown that lax oversight and ease of access to prescriptions can lead to abuse, fraud, and accidents. Also, given Florida's recent history in combating the epidemic of 'pill mills' and dubious distinction as having among the highest incidents of fraud, I do not believe we should make it easier for those seeking to abuse the drug to have easy access to it.
"As a cancer survivor, mother and lawmaker, I am acutely empathetic to the suffering of people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain. My view is that approval of the use of marijuana as a medical treatment should be handled responsibly and in a regulated manner that ensures its approval does not do more harm than good."
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment that would restrict the DEA from targeting medical marijuana operations in states where it is legal.
The amendment, which was spearheaded by California Representative Dana Rohrabacher's amendment to the 2015 Justice Department appropriations bill, passed by a vote of 219-189.
What this means for Florida, where marijuana -- medical or otherwise -- is still illegal, is that should the legalization of medical marijuana pass in November, the feds can no longer interfere with the state's laws in regards to medical pot.
Morgan, Chairman for United for Care, and donor of over $4 million into the Amendment 2 campaign, fired back in a statement of his own saying, among other things, that the Democratic chair is lining herself up with the likes of Pam Bondi and Rick Scott.
"In the age of progressive politics I am highly disappointed in DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz," Morgan says. "She obviously doesn't understand the benefits of medical marijuana and hasn't bothered to understand Amendment 2, either. Sanjay Gupta and the highly trained doctors in Israel could teach her a lot. She was irrelevant in the Democratic Party before this, now she is siding with Pam Bondi and Rick Scott. I have removed her from my contacts. She should switch parties. She is neither compassionate nor progressive."
United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara added, "Ms. Wasserman Schultz says she feels Amendment 2 is too broad, but in fact it's quite specific. It establishes the right of a physician to recommend medical marijuana to a patient with a debilitating condition if its use would offer that patient relief."
Meanwhile, another pro-medical weed group, Americans for Safe Access, has decided to go after Wasserman Shultz in an ad:
As of last month, a Quinnipiac poll revealed that 88 percent of Floridians back medical marijuana.