Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Physicians Discuss
Negative Impact of Marijuana and Edible Products

flpotTALLAHASSEE, 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.