Medical marijuana advocates, normally reliable Democratic allies, are publicly opposing a top Democratic representative over her possible plans to run for the U.S. Senate in Florida if Republican incumbent Marco Rubio abandons his seat to campaign for president.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents a South Florida district and also serves as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has angered the pot lobby nationwide by expressing concerns that medical marijuana laws lead to widespread abuse, Politico reported Thursday.
Bill Piper, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, called on Wasserman Schultz to change her views or face retaliation.
"This issue is evolving very quickly, and hopefully she will evolve," Piper said. "But if she doesn’t, you can expect medical marijuana patients and supporters to dog her on the campaign trail."
His group has formed an alliance with People United for Medical Marijuana in Florida, the national Marijuana Policy Project and Americans for Safe Access to oppose Wasserman Schultz.
The six-term congresswoman last year angered a top Florida Democratic campaign donor, trial lawyer John Morgan, by opposing his efforts to promote a medical marijuana initiative. Morgan spent $4 million of his own money on the effort.
Wasserman Schultz compared medical marijuana shops to black-market dealers of the narcotic pain reliever, OxyContin.
"Other states have shown that lax oversight and ease of access to prescriptions can lead to abuse, fraud, and accidents," she said.
Morgan denounced her action and cited her opposition as an example of why she is "despised" in high-ranking Democratic circles, Politico reported.
Social media have also taken up the cause of the medical marijuana lobby.
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