Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Physicians Discuss
Negative Impact of Marijuana and Edible Products
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 25, 2014) – Today, a group of health care and law enforcement experts stood together to discuss their grave concerns about the dangers of marijuana and the likely impact of passage of Amendment 2 on Florida communities. Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger, Dr. James Harrell and Dr. Michael Forsthoefel of the Florida Medical Association warned of the dangers Florida could face if marijuana is legalized.
"Amendment 2 not only legalizes the sale and use of pot – it also legalizes an entire pot industry. It will be advertised, promoted, and have very little administrative oversight," Seminole County Sheriff, Don Eslinger said. "We are not just talking about joints, pipes, and brownies. Other states are seeing a surge in edible products that are clearly attractive to children. Lollipops, candy bars, Pot-Tarts, and Krondike Bars may have warning labels, but does a six year old really know the difference?"
Dr. James Harrell added: "Medicine by public opinion is simply bad policy. I have never provided a patient with a prescription that is smoked or sold in food."
"My plea is that before we create the 'medicine' of marijuana by public opinion and the ballot, let's do the scientific research and clearly demonstrate whether marijuana is an effective treatment for a specific disease and is safe," he said. "We do this for every other medicine on the market today. Why would patients expect anything less?"
"Amendment 2 is so full of loopholes that it basically legalizes marijuana in the state of Florida," said Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart). "Physicians, including chiropractors, podiatrists, medical and osteopathic doctors, can 'recommend' (since it is against the federal law to prescribe) the use of marijuana for 'other conditions' to include such things as the pain suffered from a broken toe nail."
Dr. Michael Forsthoefel explained how marijuana affects the human body, warning that long-term effects of marijuana use can include altered brain development, poor educational outcome with increased likelihood of dropping out of school, cognitive impairment, low IQ scores among frequent users during adolescence and diminished life satisfaction and achievement.
"Marijuana in high doses exacerbates paranoia and psychosis, especially those with a preexisting genetic vulnerability to diseases like schizophrenia," added Dr. Forsthoefel.
The Don't Let Florida Go to Pot coalition believes 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.DontLetFloridaGotoPot.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.
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
OFFICE OF THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION
Persons/Property Crimes-Narcotics-Street Crimes-Crime Scene /Evidence-Crime Analyst-
Public Information Officer- Victims Assistance Coordinator-
Crisis Negotiation Team- K-9-Sexual Offender Unit
On Monday September 22, 2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m. a deputy responded to Highway 70 West and the east corner of SW 67 Drive (Okeechobee, Florida) in reference to a criminal mischief complaint. A telephone (Sprint) wire box was found knocked over and sustained approximately $20,000 in damage.
Information was obtained that a video existed of the incident. The video depicts an unknown make and model possibly extended cab truck entering the crime scene area on Saturday night, September 20, 2014, at approximately 11:45 p.m. and remaining there for approximately one hour with the headlights on. At approximately 12:40 a.m. Sunday, September 21, 2014, the truck proceeds forward running into the wire box. It backs up and runs over the box approximately four other times destroying the unit. The truck then leaves the area traveling Hwy 70 eastbound into town (Okeechobee).
During the review of the video, vehicles were observed entering into the Lazy 7 / Sunset Strip Airpark sub-division passing by the suspect vehicle and scene. The information obtained from the video will be forwarded to both Crime Stoppers and the local news affiliates in an attempt to obtain potential suspect information from anyone that may have seen the vehicle in the area at that time.
Approximately $20,000 in damage to both the unit and the wires associated with the Sprint telephone system and repairs. An exact estimate will not be known until all the damage is repaired. Anyone having information regarding the incident may remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-TIPS (8477) or Detective Lieutenant Brad Stark at the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division at 863-763-3117, ext. 5103.
Fugitive Returned to Okeechobee to Face Charges
Conrad Anthony Thitchener, age 46
On September 22, 2014, Thitchener was transported by the U.S. Prison Transport from Poughkeepsie, New York
to the Okeechobee County Jail to face the following charges:
(4) counts-Forcible Sexual Battery, Victim Over 12 Years of Age
In addition, Thitchener was arrested on an unrelated warrant for Criminal Mischief-$1000 or More
Thitchener fled Okeechobee County prior to an arrest being made. He was later apprehended in New York.
Bond will be set at first appearance.
Sheriff May said of the arrest, "When you commit a crime like Mr. Thitchener is alleged to have committed, there is no running and hiding. We will go anywhere to bring someone back to answer these charges. We're thankful to the police in New York for apprehending him and we will let the Criminal Justice System take its course."
A sobriety checkpoint was conducted by the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office, along with members of the Okeechobee City Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol, on Friday, September 19, 2014 from 9:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. in the 500 block of Highway 70 East in Okeechobee.
In all, 190 vehicles passed through the zone. There was one arrest for DUI; three misdemeanor drug arrests; one arrest for a separate criminal offense; Twelve citations for non-moving/moving offenses; ten warnings issued; one Driving While License Suspended citation; two criminal citations for no valid driver's license; three criminal citations issued for Possession of Marijuana Under (20) Grams, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Expired Tag for More than a Year; three warnings issued for various offenses and two citations issued for moving related offenses.