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Jitter Echo: Opponents of Amendment 2 Launch “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” Campaign

| June 10, 2014

Detail from one of the posters for the 1936 propaganda film, 'Reefer Madness,' which demonizes young people who smoke marijuana.

Detail from one of the posters for the 1936 propaganda film, ‘Reefer Madness,’ which demonizes young people who smoke marijuana.

Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana launched the “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” campaign Tuesday, warning that passing the measure would lead to widespread abuse.

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“It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “It’s wrought with loopholes. It’s very cleverly written so that there can be use and abuse.”

Judd and other members of the group said they want to educate voters about the dangers of the amendment, which they consider to be so loosely written that Floridians of all ages will be able to obtain marijuana if it passes in November.

“We are literally looking at an unleashing of a Wild, Wild West of potent marijuana products,” said Calvina Faye, executive director of Drug Free America.

The same day, the Palm Coast City Council briefly discussed possibly drafting an ordinance that would impose restrictions on pot dispensaries’ locations and manner of doing business, should Amendment 2 pass. Some Flagler County commissioners are circulating some documentation regarding other local governments’ potential pre-emptive moves.

A ballot summary that voters will see when they go to the polls says, in part, the medical use of marijuana would be allowed for people with “debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician.” The more-detailed text of the amendment lists diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and HIV and also refers to “other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

Judd said that given the example of states that have legalized medical marijuana, such as California, the “other conditions” in the amendment could include sleeplessness, stress, cramps and pain from a sore back or broken arm.

“If you just look at the history of what we’ve gone through with pill mills, you can imagine that it would be the same type of doctors making those recommendations,” Faye said.

But Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, the group driving the amendment, said the anti-pot coalition’s arguments were misleading.

“This is about getting relief to really sick and suffering people,” Pollara said. “Our opponents look at the polls and see that Floridians probably support medical marijuana and are either split or opposed to the adult use of marijuana. And the way that they think they can win this campaign is by tricking people into believing this is about something other than what it really is, which is the medical use of marijuana.”

The constitutional amendment requires approval from 60 percent of voters to pass, and polling has been inconsistent. A Quinnipiac University poll released in early May showed that 88 percent of Florida voters support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes.

But Sarah Bascom, spokeswoman for the “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” campaign, pointed to a poll out Tuesday that was conducted for The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. It showed that roughly 54 percent of Miami-Dade County voters supported the medical marijuana measure — not enough for it to pass in November. And that was in a heavily Democratic county.

“It’s completely at odds with what every poll has found on the topic in the last year and a half,” Pollara said of the Miami-Dade poll. “I don’t really think much of it.”

The polls are inconsistent because they’re changing, University of South Florida political science professor Susan MacManus said.

“I suspect some of them were fairly accurate at the time they were taken,” she said. “But you’ve got to put them in the time frame of when they were asked and what’s going on. … It makes a difference as to what kind of stories have been carried on television in what markets on the whole issue of marijuana in Colorado and groups coming out against it. The publicity, in other words, can really change people’s minds on this issue.”

MacManus said she thought the ballot measure could go either way.

A political committee that is helping fund opposition to the amendment raised $2.6 million in May, with $2.5 million coming from Republican super-donor and Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. That committee, the Drug Free Florida Committee, had received $100,000 before May.

A spokesman for United for Care, the group backing the amendment, said it raised $195,359 in May, but details had not been posted on the state Division of Elections website late Tuesday afternoon.

–Margie Menzel, News Service of Florida

12 Responses for “Jitter Echo: Opponents of Amendment 2 Launch “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” Campaign”

  1. Max Awesomeness says:

    “If you just look at the history of what we’ve gone through with pill mills, you can imagine that it would be the same type of doctors making those recommendations,” Faye said.

    Then don’t let those “same types of doctors” into florida. Why did you to begin with? Oh yeah, so you could get your oxy when you wanted to.

  2. Carl says:

    No just keep selling alcohol and cigarettes in every store, gas station , strip mall , drive through liquor store , they are only the two biggest killers in the world , but they are the drug of our governments choice , they not only consume both but get billions in bribes and tax revenue off them , saw a story last week a day before congress was voting on a big tobacco tax hike , John Boehner was on house floor passing out checks and cartons of cigarettes out to his fellow bribe taking cronies , not even hiding it , they`ve been taking bribes so long they don`t consider it illegal in Washington its just a( Bonus…… or Bone Us to them) its out of control people we need these thieves voted out of office, not only is pot better recreationally for you then booze , your more aware driving on it…. and it helps people with the deceases the other two drugs they use and endorse cause , this Reefer Madness is straight out of their 50`s scare tactics to promote alcohol use , don`t let them get thier way again , its insane people are doing 20 yrs in prison for 29 grams of pot and child molesters and rapist and murderers are out on the streets , tell them Enough already with their self serving propaganda .

  3. Brian Kelly says:

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    “[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    “[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    “[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    “Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

    “The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    “[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

    “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

  4. Brian Kelly says:

    Fear of Medical Marijuana Legalization is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever.

    So please, all prohibitionists, we beg you, give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Medical Marijuana a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

    Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny, crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it is obviously defective.

    The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol and definitely so much less dangerous than handfuls of deadly, toxic, made-,made, highly addictive, narcotic pain pills and other pharmaceuticals .

    If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

    Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

    Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being hell bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

  5. Brian Kelly says:

    Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, – Your Days Are Numbered. Find new careers before you don’t have one.

  6. Florida citizen says:

    Comparing pill mills to marijuana dispensaries that are state controlled and licensed is ludicrous.

    People will first have to go to a dr for license to even purchase marijuana.

    Do I need a license from a dr to drink beer or smoke a cigarette?

    Oh that’s right, my dr tells me to not drink a lot and to stop smoking.

    Irony much?

  7. m&m says:

    Don’t you think we already have too much crime in this state?? If not this should triple it..

  8. Smoke em if you got em says:

    Weed is a heck of a lot more liver friendly than alcohol. Legalize it not only for medical purposes but for recreational as well. It’s a public health matter! Hey, anybody got a light? Cough, cough. Better yet, lets go to the store and get some brownie mix.

  9. confidential says:

    Is only supposed to be approved for “medical” use!!
    Anyone all around us, the “recreational marijuana users” are a good crowd now and buy and sell a booming occupation whether we accept it or not. Pathetic that so many people can only enjoy life by using pot!

  10. dontbuyfrombailedout says:

    2nd post — to alert the pro pot clan that ,as with most things, the rest of the problem is ignored by them.

    Simply go to – Explosions in Colorado while extracting Hash oil – to see the next step for the pro pot clan that will want more to sell from their newly legalized plant ! The progressive members of this clan want more, then more, then more again. They are blowing up houses (and people) to the tune of 30+ such explosions in Colorado alone Washington has also had their fair share of these as well.

    Please look at 3 or 4 of these – the stories show the lack of brains and overwhelming greed of the real pros

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