If you thought the medical marijuana initiative was intended to truly help those debilitated by serious diseases, think again.
If that were the case, the authors of the amendment would not have included a truck-sized loophole in the definition of debilitating diseases qualifying a person to legally smoke pot.
The loophole changes disease to “condition.” And what constitutes a valid “condition?” Any condition where the “use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks” of someone who claimed to be sick.
In other states that have passed similar fraudulent marijuana initiatives, this means people who alleged minor ailments such as muscle spasms, neck pain, back pain and even menstrual cramps have qualified for government-sanctioned pot smoking.
The “medical marijuana” initiative is a sham. It is all about getting the camel’s nose under the tent of deceived voters to legalize marijuana in Florida. This is straight out of the pot-legalization playbook from other states. Yet I believe Floridians are smarter than these pot-promoting hucksters think.
Major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society and American Academy of Ophthalmology, have all agreed that marijuana has not been proven as a safe or effective form of medicine.
Florida recently and successfully battled against a huge prescription-drug epidemic revolving around oxycodone abuse, and now people are calling for the legalization in Florida of medical marijuana — a drug with the potential to ultimately create a revolving-door culture of abuse. As a sheriff, I cannot support any such proposal.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration classification lists marijuana as a highly addictive drug bearing no proven medical value — declaring marijuana a harmful drug. THC, the active chemical ingredient of marijuana, affects the areas of the brain which control the body’s movements, balance, coordination, memory and judgment. Use of marijuana has shown to be a contributor toward increased injuries and deaths from impaired driving and, out of the 20 states with the highest rates of drugged driving, 15 of them were states where legislation passed or ballot initiatives prevailed increasing access to pot.
I’m sure many of you have likely heard the recent radio commercials featuring John Morgan, of the law group Morgan & Morgan, attempting to gain a sympathy vote by telling you that medical marijuana can help fight diseases such as cancer, AIDS, ALS and glaucoma. In reality, the real reason is disguised and designed to be the first step for total legalization. John Morgan’s position is rejected by medical professionals.
Who are you going to believe? Knowledgeable and respectable physicians or a personal injury attorney who stands to make millions of dollars from future lawsuits based on torts by those using marijuana or injured by those using marijuana?
Medical marijuana in Florida will perpetuate the same situation that came about from pill mills — unprincipled doctors authorizing anyone who pays them to purchase pot, regardless of whether or not they have a valid medical condition.
Keep in mind, drug-related crashes have steadily increased in Florida from 2008 to 2011 with 1,556 drug-related traffic crash injuries and 190 drug-related traffic crash fatalities in 2011 alone. With numbers like these, I find it interesting that the biggest proponent of medical marijuana in Florida is one of our state’s most prolific personal injury attorneys.
Allowing medical marijuana will generate a cycle of problems. Teens will have marijuana readily available to them, creating the potential of addiction, while industrial accidents could create an increase in workers’ compensation cases. Traffic crashes from drivers high on marijuana will certainly increase. Floridians could find property values decrease in areas where pot shops and production occur.
There are also long-term effects of marijuana that must be considered. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, approximately one in 11 people who use marijuana become dependent on the drug. It has been shown teens who indulge in the use of marijuana are more likely to engage in delinquent and dangerous behavior than those teens who do not use this drug. Continued use is associated with respiratory illness and cognitive impairment. Additionally, states that have passed medical marijuana laws have experienced increased crime rates since passing the legislation.
Lawmakers and law enforcement have worked tirelessly to get Florida’s crime rate to its current 42-year low. Let’s not roll back that progress by legalizing a drug with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Join with your Florida sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies, those who have seen firsthand the tragedies associated with marijuana abuse, as we fight this initiative.
The state of Florida needs to send a clear message to those who want to legalize this dangerous drug by misleading the voters and abusing their sympathy: “No we will not be duped, and no we do not want to legalize marijuana!”