Medical Marijuana: Alan Clendenin, Florida Democratic Vice Chair, Breaks With Wasserman Schultz on Amendment 2
The backlash over Debbie Wasserman Schultz's opposition to the amendment to legalize medical marijuana in Florida has trickled into Monday with the vice chairman of the Florida Democratic Party publicly separating himself from Wasserman Schultz's stance.
Alan Clendenin sent out a news release proclaiming his support for Amendment 2 while sending out what seems to be a veiled shot at Wasserman Shultz's comments from last week.
"It confounds me to see there are still some that would deprive their family members and friends suffering from debilitating disease appropriate medical care recommended by their physician," Clendenin, the first vice chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, said on Monday. "I find it outrageous that some Washington politicians believe they are better equipped to make health care decisions. I find it shameful there are some that would label a critically ill patient a criminal and subject them to fines or even prison."
Clendenin goes on to share that he lost his mother to cancer in August of 2008 and that his family "would have welcomed any therapy that would have relieved my mother's pain."
While Clendenin didn't call Wasserman Shultz out by name, his quip about "Washington politicians" and the timing of his statement seem to point to criticism of the DNC chair.
Clendenin and Wasserman Schultz have a bumpy history. In 2013, Clendenin looked to become the state party chair but was opposed by Wasserman Schultz's handpicked choice, Allison Tant.
Clendenin lost to Tant 587-507, in a somewhat nasty race.
Last week, Wasserman Schulz released a statement on her opposition to Amendment 2, saying that it is written too broadly and using the pill-mill argument some anti-medical weed groups have been using to justify her vote against the bill.
Wasserman Schultz was heavily criticized over her stance by medical marijuana advocate. United for Care Chairman John Morgan, who called her irrelevant in the Democratic Party, challenged her progressiveness.
Mike Czin, national press secretary for the Democratic Party, said on Friday that the DNC had not yet taken an official position on Amendment 2.
On Monday, Clendenin called his support for Amendment 2 as compassion over politics.
"I am proud to stand with Sen. Nan Rich and Former Gov. Charlie Crist in support of this important legislation," Clendenin adds. "November 4, 2014, I will be voting yes on Amendment 2 to legalize use of marijuana for physician-approved medical conditions."