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Why DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Is Cautious On Medical Marijuana

Constanza Gallardo

A new medical marijuana controversy erupted over the weekend when South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz weighed in.

Wasserman Schultz chairs the Democratic National Committee. So last week, when she voted against legislation in the House that would prevent the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana laws, Florida took notice. That's because Sunshine State voters will decide in November whether or not to legalize medical marijuana.

Wasserman Schultz emphasizes that she has no position on that state ballot measure. But she says she's concerned it may be too vague on issues like government oversight.

“I believe that we should allow medical marijuana when there is evidence that a low-dosage form can provide relief," she told WLRN on Monday. "But the concerns that I have with Florida’s amendment are simply that it appears to be a little open-ended, so that there would potentially not be enough regulation to ensure that it could not be abused.”

When Wasserman Schultz first voiced that caveat last Friday, it drew an angry response from Florida medical marijuana supporters like Democratic Party donor John Morgan - who in an interview with the Miami Herald called Wasserman Schultz an “irritant.” But she insists her warning is valid given Florida’s history.

“We don’t have the best track record in Florida," she says, "when it comes to pill mills, when it comes to fraud, particularly in the area of health care.”

Wasserman Schultz declined to respond to Morgan’s remarks.