Florida Doctors Divided on Medical Cannabis

September 30, 2016

As Florida voters weigh their decision to create a state-regulated medical marijuana industry, an obvious question emerges: Where do doctors stand on pot?

The answer is complicated. The medical establishment dismisses weed as scientifically untested, but some individual doctors are breaking ranks to back Amendment 2, the ballot question that will be decided Nov. 8.

The 20,000-member Florida Medical Association opposes Amendment 2. Prescription drugs are approved only after they’re tested in clinical trials featuring thousands of patients, and the organization notes there’s no such proof that cannabis is an effective treatment.

“There is nothing medical about this proposal,” said Tim Stapleton, chief executive of the Florida Medical Association.

Not all physicians agree. Some, like Dr. Kathryn Villano of Miami, support Amendment 2. She said weed can be an effective pain treatment that’s far gentler than the addictive opioids often prescribed by doctors.

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