Grassroots Coalition Launches to Educate on Dangers of Marijuana
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 10, 2014) – Today, members of the Don't Let Florida Go to Pot coalition convened in Tallahassee to announce their efforts to educate Floridians on the dangers of marijuana and how the proposed Amendment 2 can impact the state's communities. This coalition includes more than 100 partners and organizations who represent medical, drug abuse and law enforcement interests across the state.
"The legalization of marijuana in Florida is a very important issue to Florida's law enforcement, and the Florida Sheriffs Association supports the efforts of the Don't Let Florida Go to Pot coalition," said Steve Casey, Executive Director of the Florida Sheriffs Association. "Educating our citizens to the dangers of illegal drugs such as marijuana is a high priority."
The coalition warns that legalizing marijuana, which has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse, is a dangerous decision for our state and its citizens. The proposed amendment is filled with loopholes that would allow doctors to authorize use of marijuana for virtually any reason with little regulation, which has the potential to harm families and diminish the quality of life throughout Florida.
The coalition has three particular concerns:
• The amendment provides no age restrictions, which will allow youth to easily obtain marijuana without parental consent. Amendment language requires confidentiality of all qualifying patients, which may trump parents' right to notice and consent. Studies have shown that youth who used marijuana before the age of 18, and continued using the drug, experienced as much as an 8 point drop in their IQ over a period of time.
• The caregivers described in the amendment are not required to have any background checks, training or certifications. This is a loophole that would open the door to abuse, allowing addicts, drug dealers, and convicted felons to become 'caregivers.'
• The amendment will undo recent efforts to combat the recent prescription pill epidemic. Law enforcement and Florida legislators have worked tirelessly to rid our state of pill mills and stop the abuse of powerful prescription drugs. Legalizing marijuana opens the door to replacing these pill mills with pot shops.
"Amendment 2 is a misleading, well thought-out fraud," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "The amendment does not require a doctor's prescription, rather only a recommendation. There is a loophole big enough to float a battleship through that will allow anyone in Florida to obtain pot for any reason -- making it nearly impossible for law enforcement to hold dealers and pot shop doctors accountable."
The Don't Let Florida Go to Pot coalition believes any legalization of marijuana will adversely impact our state and its citizens. To learn more about this issue and the Don't Let Florida Go to Pot coalition, please visit www.dontletflgotopot.com.
The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of Florida's Sheriffs, approximately 3,500 business leaders and 70,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has quietly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law-enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida's public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and continues to support the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, which manages facilities and programs throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. The Florida Sheriffs Association has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit www.flsheriffs.org.
Voices of the Coalition
"As someone who has seen the effects that can come from substance abuse and understands addictive qualities of marijuana, Amendment 2 creates a system that will ultimately lead to drug abuse. There are proven alternatives to smoked marijuana that effectively deliver THC or CBD to people who truly can benefit from it -- and eliminate the individuals who are attempting to use it for a high."
-Kent Runyon, Director, Novus Medical Detox Center
"We do not allow convicted felons to own or possess firearms, but under the proposed amendment they would be allowed to purchase and distribute marijuana to up to five people. So in addition to no age restriction or parental consent, this amendment would also allow those with criminal and substance abuse backgrounds to legally obtain and redistribute marijuana. Once you add in the unethical doctors that will come in to profit from this, it will mean anyone and everyone will be able to obtain and smoke marijuana legally."
-Calvina Fay, Executive Director, Drug Free America
"In one of the last conversations I had with my son, he shared with me that his addiction to prescription pills came from his use of marijuana. He told me that the only reason he began taking prescription pills was to maintain the high he got from smoking marijuana."
-Karen Bailey, mother of a child who died from a drug overdose
"The more people see past the virulent pro-pot propaganda, the more they understand how bad this amendment will be for Florida. The real effect of medical marijuana in Florida will be to jeopardize the safety and drug-free future of our most precious resource – our youth."
-Bruce Grant, Chairman – Leon County Responsible Decision Making Coalition
"As a mother, I do not want to see Florida go down the same path it did with pill mills and have pot docs dispensing drugs next to my children's school. And, as a medical practitioner, I know I will not recommend pot to my patients for any purpose, nor do I know of any credible, responsible medical doctor that will. Before heading to the polls, I encourage all Floridians to take a closer look at the loopholes contained in Amendment 2 because my first duty is to 'do no harm,' and I truly believe these loopholes will only bring harm to our great state and our fellow Floridians."
-Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos