On January 16, 2014 the Florida Sheriffs Association of which Sheriff Mark Hunter is a member, released the following resolution.
Concerned that legalizing marijuana will jeopardize public safety; Florida’s sheriffs have passed a resolution opposing the legalization of marijuana in Florida. The Florida Sheriffs Association today announced the majority vote, stressing that the main priority of FSA and Florida’s 67 Sheriffs is to protect the safety of our citizens. Florida’s Sheriffs believe that approving broad exceptions to current state and federal law that would allow doctors to authorize use of marijuana for virtually any reason with little regulation will hurt children and families and lead to a lower quality of life for all.
The dangers of marijuana have been well documented in recent years with increased crime and traffic accidents in states that have passed legislation legalizing marijuana. For example, of the 20 states with the highest driver acknowledgement of drugged driving, 15 were states that have passed legislation legalizing marijuana. The Los Angeles and Denver Police Departments have reported significant increases in crime since marijuana was legalized in their respective states.
FSA’s opposition is driven by several factors. Among them:
”¢ Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug under the controlled Substances Act, defined as having a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Several major medical organizations including the American Medical Association, National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society have rejected smoked marijuana as medicine.
”¢ Florida’s Sheriffs do not want to see a repeat of the state’s earlier problems with prescription drug abuse, which prompted new laws supported by the FSA to close loopholes, create new monitoring programs and put protocols in place to stop the abuse of prescription drugs such as OxyContin.
”¢ Legalizing marijuana, as current ballot language proposes, comes with significant dangers to Florida youth. The legalization of marijuana will make this drug more readily available and easier to obtain by teens, as they would not need parental consent to get a “physician’s certification” for marijuana. With no quality or dosage control, there is nothing in place to prevent these storefront marijuana dispensaries from selling to minors. States that have passed legislation legalizing marijuana have seen an increase of youth in possession of marijuana; in Colorado alone, the marijuana use rate among teens is 50 percent above the national average.
”¢ Florida sheriffs agree that there may be strains of marijuana that can provide relief for children with severe, intractable seizures. This type of marijuana is high in CBD, a pain relieving and anti-convulsing component of marijuana, and contains minimal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol the psychoactive ingredient that produces a high. Sheriffs are concerned about manipulation of families in need if the production, distribution, monitoring and quality control are not well defined and regulated.
Florida’s sheriffs believe that legalizing smoking marijuana, which has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse, is a dangerous decision for our state and its citizens. Florida’s Sheriffs stand firm in their opposition to the legalization of the use, possession, cultivation, delivery and sale of marijuana.