Sheriff's Message History

Get the Facts on Medical Marijuana Before You Vote

April 16, 2014

Over the last several months I have read several editorials and comments on our Facebook page by a people who claim I am misinformed.  I am not a doctor, as one of my constituents pointed out, but I have done my homework by reading what doctors and medical associations have said on this issue.  Medical marijuana has become a very hot topic and, yes, one that law enforcement cringes at.  Why?  Because we see what most people do not. 

Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I narcotic because it meets the legal criteria as there is currently no FDA approved use for raw marijuana.  However, marijuana is made up of more than 400 chemicals, some of which have been shown to help certain medical conditions.  Some of these substances have already been released for use and several more are still being studied.  Among those approved are Cesamet, which is used for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer patients who undergo chemo therapy, and Marinol that is used for nausea as well has treatment for loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS.  Sativex is currently being studied and is used in Europe and Canada to treat pain associated with MS. 

All are given as last resorts when nothing else seems to work because they, too, have side effects.  All are taken orally, not smoked.  There are also studies being conducted on CBD, which is a chemical found in marijuana that does not make you high, that is said to help children who suffer from seizures. 

Many of these have very low or no THC content.  THC is the chemical in marijuana that makes you high and that is responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects.  THC can induce hallucinations, change thinking and cause delusions.  These substances should be approved by the FDA, prescribed by a licensed physician, and dispensed by a licensed pharmacy. 

That is not what is being proposed.  We are bypassing the system put in place to protect us from things like this.  One only needs a physician certification and then they can go to any store front dispensary to acquire it.  The marijuana of today has been shown to contain 15%, some as high as 20%, THC content as opposed to the 1% back in the 1970s.  The current proposal has no provision for anyone to monitor the potency or consistency for what would be dispensed. 

In addition there is no set criteria for being a caregiver and receiving the approval to have medical marijuana in your possession.  It allows up to five caregivers and can allow felons and others with questionable motives to obtain it.  If everyone thought the pill mills were a problem a few years ago, this issue is poised to be even worse.

Those that support the legalization of medical marijuana are trying to pull on the heart strings of Floridians to get the amendment passed.  They use the argument of taking care of those with debilitating diseases, but the truth is less than 2% of those with truly debilitating diseases are prescribed medical marijuana in locations that have already approved it.  More than 80% of the recipients are white males 18-36 years of age who are known drug users.  Hmmm? 

And don't be fooled - your children can get this.  States that have legalized marijuana for medical use are seeing increases in teen use and they are getting it from their parent's medicine cabinets.  The proposed amendment in Florida does not even prohibit children from receiving it.  What is more, they can get it without their parents' permission.  The human brain is said to not be fully developed until about age 23-25.  Children who continually take it have shown substantial decreases in their IQ levels.  It affects memory, motivation, and learning.  Do you want to see this happen to your child?  They are our future.

The majority of your medical, drug, and cancer associations do not support legalization of smoked raw marijuana.   As the Sheriff of Charlotte County, like other law enforcement officials throughout the State, I do not support the legalization for legal and social order reasons.  Don't be fooled.  Get the facts before you vote.

Thank you,

Sheriff Bill Prummell

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