SPECIAL REPORT: Battle lines drawn, as Florida voters prepare to decide future of Medical Marijuana

Posted: 10:53 PM, Oct 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-29 00:17:02-04

Irvin Rosenfeld's smoke break is unlike any other.

If you look closely, that's no cigarette in his hand - it's marijuana - and it's legal.

"That's my prescription," he tells us. "Just like Valium or just like insulin or anything else."

Rosenfeld is one of 2 people in the country who still receives weed directly from the federal government, thanks to an experimental medical marijuana program done in the 80's.

Decades ago, doctors diagnosed Rosenfeld with a rare and painful condition that caused tumors to grow on his bones.

"The marijuana serves as a muscle relaxant, thereby easing that muscle tension, thereby easing muscle pain," he said. 

He smokes as many as 10 joints a day.

"When I don't have it, the level of pain would be to the extent that I would not be working. I would be homebound probably on disability," Rosenfeld says.

Rosenfeld believes he is the prime example of how amendment 2 will help people in Florida.

However, Jessica Spencer fears she is the last line of defense against Amendment 2.

"Marijuana is a gateway drug, period," she told a crowd gathered in a Bradenton cafeteria.

Spencer is the policy director for the "No on Amendment 2" Campaign against the legalization of medical marijuana.

She's heard all the stories and arguments for medical marijuana, including Rosenfeld's.

Spencer argues none of those testimonials are proof medical marijuana helps anyone...ever.

"It's prays on people's hope that this could be something that could help," she says. "You have these anecdotes and these stories that say that this drug - this street drug - helps them and works for them. But it is not, there is no conclusive evidence to say that.

She wants scientists to do the research, like the government requires of all drugs, before starting any conversation about legalizing medical marijuana.

"We don't do medicine or medical equipment through ballot initiatives," Spencer says. "That's not how we do it.  We are not Neanderthals!"

Spencer believes if Florida voters approve Medical Marijuana, there will be consequences.

"Even in the states that have it "regulated" it's not regulated, and it showing up in the hands of youth."

Rosenfeld believes regulation will work.

"The marijuana is there whether we passed a law or not," he says. "What we need to do is regulate it and make sure it's done correctly, make sure it's put out by the right people and given the right advice"

Rosenfeld holds himself up as proof the reward is worth the risk.

"I've not had a tumor grow or a new one develop since I was 21," he says.  "I'll be 64 in February. And the doctors don't know why. I know why. Cannabis."

There's a good reason why there's is no definitive research on medical marijuana.

The government classifies marijuana as a schedule one drug -- the most restrictive classification for controlled substances.

Researchers say that makes it difficult to study its long term effects.

60% of Florida voters must say "Yes" to legalize medical marijuana.

Two years ago, the measure failed by three percent.