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
The Board of Directors of the Skip Bryant Memorial Fund would like to take this opportunity to thank the community and all supporting businesses that sponsored or donated to the 21 years of successful golf tournaments. The Board also thanks all participants and volunteers that helped annually. All of these people made it possible for the fund to award (61) children of law enforcement/firefighters with scholarship assistance in the amount of $200,640.00. These same efforts offered aid, in their time of need, to (85) law enforcement/firefighter families in the amount of $94,231.91. The fund has been awarding scholarships and aid funds since 1992 when it was formed. It is names in honor of Skip Bryant who died in the line of duty November 8, 1991.
The Board voted to change the operation of the fund to only include aid in their time of need, to law enforcement/firefighter families. In the past several years, the fund-raising part of the effort has become increasingly labor intensive. In order for the fund to still remain in operation, scholarships will no longer be awarded. The annual golf tournament will not take place. But the fund is still tax deductible and will accept donations. Fund-raisers will occur from time to time as needed. The Board will still operate and meet as usual making decisions on aid disbursements.
Current scholarship recipients will receive a two semester payout. This will give them a year to look for and obtain other scholarship assistance. Sheriff May was quoted as saying that this was very generous and he had not heard of this being done by any other organization.
Current Board members are Sheriff Paul C. May, Undersheriff Noel Stephen, Okeechobee City Police Chief Denny Davis, CPA Mike Costopoulos, and Virginia (Ginny) Bryant. On behalf of the current Board members, we would like to thank each and everyone for their continued support of the Skip Bryant Memorial Fund. Questions, concerns or suggestions can be directed to these individuals.
W/M; DOB: 2/12/69; 6'5"; 232 lbs.
BROWN HAIR; BROWN EYES
6835 SE 88 TRAIL
OKEECHOBEE, FL 34974
Carpenter was convicted of two counts- Att. Sexual Battery on Minor and Lewd & Lascivious Victim Less Than 12 YOA, Offender Over 18 YOA, on 3/21/2012 in Dade County, Florida. The victim was a minor. If you have any questions regarding this bulletin, contact Michele at the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office at 763-3117, extension 5100 or website http://www.fdle.state.fl.us
Okeechobee County K9 Officers Retire
Two of Okeechobee's finest-- and furriest--have retired from the department. Of the six K9 Officers at the Sheriff's Office, two are leaving active duty. K9 Officer Rex and K9 Officer Ruby are now retired.
Officer Rex is retiring after more than 9 years with the department, after an extremely successful career with his handler, Detective Rick Voss. Rex has had a productive career in both drug and suspect apprehensions. Rex together with Detective Voss, made hundreds of narcotic arrests and have seized well over $10,000.00 in US currency. He also assisted in more than thirty criminal apprehensions which also included nine bites. Rex will join the Voss family as their pet upon his retirement.
Officer Ruby has worked with her handler, Cpl. Donald Ellis, for the past ten years and has had a productive career in assisting with numerous narcotic and criminal arrests related to narcotic finds.
Officer Ruby will spend her retirement as Cpl. Ellis' family pet.
The bond between a handler and K9 partner is inexplicable. While deputy partnerships are clearly important, that between a K9 and his officer take on a different dimension.
The Working Dog
My eyes are your eyes,
to watch and protect you and yours.
My ears are your ears,
to hear and detect evil minds in the dark.
My nose is your nose,
to scent the invader of your domain.
And so you may live,
my life is also yours.
Sheriff May said of the retirements, "We appreciate all that K9 Ruby and K9 Rex have done for the Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Okeechobee County. Together they have apprehended some really bad people and stopped a lot of dope from being sold on the streets, sometimes to our children. I thank Detective Rick Voss for K9 Rex and Cpl. Don Ellis for K9 Ruby. They will be almost impossible to replace. I wish them the very best in their retirement and hope that their retirement is a long one."
FUGITIVE IN CUSTODY IN POUGHKEEPSIE, NY
45-year old Conrad Anthony Thitchener AKA Michael Anthony wanted in connection with raping a woman on December 23, 2013, is now in custody in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Thitchener had been wanted for questioning in the case, but left Okeechobee County on January 2, 2014. Warrants for four counts of Sexual Battery, Kidnapping and Battery were issued for his arrest.
On May 13, 2014, Thitchener was taken into custody by the Poughkeepsie Police Department in conjunction with the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force. Circumstances surrounding his apprehension are unknown at this time.
Thitchener will be extradited to Okeechobee, Florida, at a later date to face these charges.
No further information to be released at this time.
Sheriff Paul May said of the arrest, "I am very happy that this man is in police custody and I appreciate the cooperation of the Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force. I have confidence that our criminal justice system works and this man will be put away for a long, long time."