The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) announced Tuesday the launch of their Dont Let Florida Go to Pot Coalition, which is about educating the public on the dire impact if Amendment 2 is approved allowing medical marijuana.
FSA President Grady Judd said this amendment was a wolf in sheeps clothing cleverly written so that there can be use and abuse.
That sums up what this amendment is really about. While it is ostensibly about helping people with serious illnesses, in fact it can just as easily be used by anyone able to find a doctor to recommend its use.
We all know too well that there are doctors who will be glad to recommend med weed just like they were willing to prescribe pain pills ad nauseam. Billboards popped up all along the I-95 and Florida's Turnpike in South Florida advertising pain clinics that would dispense as many pills as you liked.
The problem became an epidemic and hundreds of people, most if not all never experiencing any pain, would die because of their eventual addiction. Now after a concerted effort over many years by Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Legislature and law enforcement, pill mills in Florida have disappeared and the doctors have been prosecuted.
If this amendment passes, we will simply replace pill mills with pot shops. A fiscal analysis by the Florida Department of Health predicts there will be about 1,800 pot shops around the state.
So, despite the protestations by the campaign manager for United for Care, which is spearheading the amendment, this is about getting relief to really sick and suffering people -- thats not true and they know it.
The facts are that before Colorado legalized recreational marijuana they had medical marijuana. Only 6 percent of the people smoking med weed got it for a debilitating disease.Ninety-four percent got it for pain, which of course cant be measured objectively. Yet, doctors were willing to give it to people as long as they paid the fee. And thats what will happen in Florida.
The sheriff also stated that children could access the med weed without parental consent. A skeptical reporter asked how that would be possible.
Simple. Caregivers, who can be anyone, are free to give it to whomever they want, including children. There are predicted to be about 250,000 caregivers in Florida.
One hidden gem for the proponents is that the amendment language provides a liability waiver for the grower, the doctor and the smoker. Left holding the marijuana baggie will be the employer, who also just happens to be the deepest pocket.
You can call trial attorney Amendment 1 originator John Morgan many things, but you cant say hes stupid. This brilliant but subtle move will be a bonanza for our litigious society.
Finally, theres the ubiquitous argument that polling is all over the place on the amendment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The difference in the polling numbers is all about how the question is asked. If a pollster just asks if youre in favor of medical marijuana, youre going to get a number in the mid to high 80s.
But, if you ask the question as it will appear on the ballot, the numbers are in the mid to high 50s, below where the number needs to be for passage. And thats before any negative advertising.
The prophecy that this amendment is going to pass is just that a desire. The real reason this amendment is on the ballot is to help Charlie Crist become governor by incentivizing Democrats to rush to the polls and pull the lever for Charlie while looking for a joint in return.
If the amendment passes, more than half a million med weed smokers have been projected!
For almost 40 years, America has been fighting illicit drug use. Most of us started on marijuana back when we were in college. For those fortunate not to have an addictive personality, we stopped there.
But for hundreds of thousands of people, substance abuse has become a habit that is nearly impossible to break. Florida now spends more than a billion dollars annually treating individuals who cant stop their habit.
And thats before we even contemplate the societal consequences on their families and children.
Need we spend more for all of the new people who will suddenly begin to feel pain real or imagined? Do we need to pass this amendment just to help those who are chronically ill and deserve some relief?
To me the answer is this:Just Say No!
Barney Bishop III, one of the most familiar faces within the state business community, is CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting LLC in Tallahassee.