Florida Medical Marijuana's Biggest Opponents and Threats
Florida seems to be well on its way to getting medical marijuana legalized. Voters this November are going to be able to decide on their own whether weed should be made legal for folks with debilitating diseases, and a bill that would decriminalize the use of a strain of medical marijuana for kids with severe epilepsy has recently passed a Senate committee.
On top of that, polls consistently show that the majority of Floridians support the legalization of medical marijuana. Some polls say that up to 70 percent are cool with medical weed.
So, this should be as automatic as Ray Allen at the free-throw line. All signs point to Florida joining the likes of Colorado and Washington and getting with the times. Right? Right?
NOT SO FAST.
So-called Drug Warriors are already on the warpath to soak their feet in the soft-serve ice-cream machine and ruin everything. And make no mistake, these people are committed, they have money, and most of all, they pounce on the narratives that The Pot is nothing but an evil, vile weed that'll turn the entire state into Cheech and Chong zombies.
Here now are five people who could derail medical marijuana:
1. Kevin Sabet
He's worked under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama in the Office of National Drug Control Policy and goes around touting drug reform. He's the modern-day version of a Prohibitionist. Sabet is Public Enemy Number One when it comes to legalizing marijuana in any way. And while he's known nationally and has taken his fight to places like Colorado, he's parked right in our own backyard as the director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida.
Through his group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (or, Project SAM), Sabet, who calls himself the "quarterback" of a new antidrug movement, has become an expert at making it sound like marijuana is Satan's Herb. Through clever semantics and an aggressive approach, Sabet's M.O. has been to be intellectually dishonest about pot by touting nonsense such as today's weed is more potent than the weed your parents smoked in the '50s and '60s or that weed rots your brain.
He also uses buzzwords and scare tactics, so as to not sound like an evil conservative, by calling medical marijuana and dispensary industries "the new big tobacco."
And Sabet has already thrown himself into the fight in Florida, going after the recent bipartisan bill that would legalize a light-strain medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web that would help certain children who suffer with epilepsy. In a "fact sheet" Sabet put out, he claims that these children don't need Charlotte's Web because they're able to get an FDA-approved drug called Epidiolex.
2. Rick Scott
Like most things that seem unpopular to the masses but are a sticking point with his own base, Rick Scott has been wishy-washy with his attitude toward medical marijuana. But make no mistake, if the Lizard King gets reelected as governor of Florida, expect him to water down and veto and basically destroy any significant medical marijuana bill that comes to his desk.
Even with the Charlotte's Web bill -- which has already passed a Senate panel -- Scott has been noncommittal, having his office release statements like, "The FDA is currently evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the medication. The Governor is hopeful that families will get relief from the impacts of these serious illnesses in the safest possible way."
And when it comes to the medical marijuana vote on November, Scott has already made it clear he wants no part of it in Florida. Through the old and tired argument that weed is like booze and other drugs, back in January Scott said he would not endorse it.
"I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases, and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative. But, having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse firsthand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path, and I would personally vote against it."