United for Care Calls on Antidrug Group to Drop Carlton Turner Over His Remarks on AIDS and Homosexuality

Categories: Marijuana
Photo by Brandon Marshall
The newly formed anti-medical marijuana group Drug Free Florida has appointed former Ronald Reagan drug czar Carlton Turner as its chairman.

Turner made a name for himself in the 1980s when he came up with the "Just Say No" campaign. But he's also grabbed headlines for once famously saying that marijuana leads to homosexuality and, ultimately, AIDS.

Turner has been tasked with getting funding for Drug Free Florida, which is looking to fight to have people vote no in November on Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida.

United for Care, the pro-medical marijuana advocacy group that helped get Amendment 2 on the ballot, is calling for Turner's resignation from Drug Free Florida due to his antigay views.

See also: United for Care's Ben Pollara to Debate Former Drug Czar Who Once Claimed Smoking Weed Leads to AIDS

In 1986, while speaking out against marijuana, Turner famously said, "Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and ultimately, AIDS."

Since his days serving under Reagan, Turner has remained active in his war against drugs, particularly marijuana.

In a recent interview with Fox Business, Turner continued to claim his certainties that marijuana impairs the immune system and that weed has, as he puts it, "more cancer-causing compounds than cigarettes."

Just last week, Turner debated United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara about his off-kilter views on the dangers of marijuana. Particularly, Turner has time and again said that marijuana has no medicinal benefits -- something that has been proven otherwise by medical science.

"Its always good to be in a position to debate someone who has no credibility when they say the things they've said," Pollara told New Times about their debate. "It's good to debate people who have made themselves anachronistic drug warriors who have said ridiculous things in the past and stick to those things."

But a week later, Turner is named chairman of the newly formed antidrug group, backed by mega-Republican fundraiser Mel Sembler.

Sembler gave Drug Free Florida a $100,000 donation to get it started, with promises of more to come.

And Turner has jumped right into his appointment, calling the legalization of medical marijuana a "con job" and saying more fundraisers are yet to come.

"It's not about medicine," he said, per the Tampa Tribune. "It's about legalization of drugs, and marijuana is their choice to start," Turner said Tuesday.

But with Turner's appointment to the group, Pollara and United for Care are calling for Sembler to withhold any more donations until Turner is gone.

In a statement released by United for Care, Pollara says there is no place for bigotry in this debate.

"The fact that the newly formed committee to oppose Amendment 2, Drug Free Florida, has chosen as its Chairman a Reagan-era aide who claimed marijuana leads to homosexuality is disgraceful and offensive," Pollara says in the statement. "Mr. Turner should resign as Chairman of Drug Free Florida immediately. Furthermore, we call upon the committee's sole financier, Ambassador Mel Sembler - and any potential donors to the group - to reject Mr. Turner's views, follow the example of the NBA, and withhold further financing of this organization until Mr. Turner is removed as its Chairman."

You can read United for Care's statement on Drug Free Florida and Calrton Turner below:

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I always knew it would come to this....the antique stereotypes about Cannabis promoted by Mel and Betty Sembler. And I do remember the occasions where Betty Sembler began frothing at the mouth about Homosexuals (like this was connected to Cannibis) And what do they have to show for their heroic efforts?

Lawsuits, damaged lives, and even worse...Presidents who believed in their cause...who actually allowed them to influence National and  Global politics...

It was always about the money...same as it is today....

But unlike most, I actually know why the Semblers are against Cannibis....(Charlie Crist, and your sons etc...) were against this.

Why do you think that Chris Christie is tripping over his schlong to appease these very same influence peddlers?

Its all about the money.... Who would have known that our entire form of Democracy would be up for auction by sleazebags like the Semblers?

Sembler and his NeoCon Convicts are not fooling anyone......;)


The closest I have ever seen marijuana come to harming anyone was during an air drop. We brought in 1100 pounds from Jamaica and dropped it in a peanut field in middle Georgia. The bales were dropped from a small plane at 125 feet altitude. One of the bales, about 80 pounds, missed my compadre by only a few feet... but it surely messed up his truck.

You can read about it in ‘Shoulda Robbed a Bank’

It's on Amazon...true story...


It's a real pity how ignorant Turner is. It's embarrassing..and somewhat funny. Can't we elect better people? 


@FlyingTooLow   wow! An admitted drug dealer who is pro pot. Quelle surprise! and a book promotion to boot.


@joysgonenuts  Turner's not elected to anything. He had an appointed paying gig under Regan, and now he's getting paid by Sembler to be the face and voice against legalization of medical marijuana here in Florida. 

Good for them. I hope Turner has a  speaking engagement and takes questions every day between now and election day, and I hope Sembler spends every red cent of money he has on this campaign, because they will surely lose, and then they'll both also be broke, and that's how karma should work.


@ccsmommy @FlyingTooLow

I spent 5 years in Federal Prison for those 'indiscretions.'   I'm trying to make up for lost time. 

I've since mended my lowdown ways.   Please, forgive me...


@bjohnm @joysgonenuts  Teen torture king Mel Sembler also threw his money away on opposing legalization in Colorado.  It will be a great day when the voters of Florida pull the rug out from under the sadistic prohibitionist tyrants that perpetrate the war on the citizenry.


@bjohnm @joysgonenuts   Ask who is paying Pollara.... Dr. Turner, PhD, is volunteering his time.


@bjohnm @joysgonenuts   First of all Dr. Turner is not being paid by anyone to defeat the initiative. He is an expert on marijuana and they are utilizing his talents and expertise. He is volunteering his time and effort to defeat legalization of an immoral and dangerous drug.

Look at Colorado and that debacle. If you read (please do) the articles being published in numerous venues, you will see that their legislators are rethinking legalization. It has opened the doors to a myriad of problems not anticipated. Crime rates are soaring as are visits to the ER costing the state millions and depleting the coveted  increased tax revenues. 4th graders are selling pot during recess. Marijuana, disguised as candy, is being sold to hook younger and younger kids. Drug trafficking across state lines increases on a daily basis. Crime rates and car accidents are up/ Impaired drivers are combining alcohol and pot making them even more dangerous.

The new stronger strains of pot will only increase the appetite for stronger and longer highs. The Mexican drug cartels are poised and ready to fill those needs.

As for the Florida initiative... do you really believe the reasoning behind this is compassion for the sick? No way... it's about MONEY. Who stands to gain? Think about it. In Colorado, statistics show only 3% (or thereabouts) is for medical usage with the balance, recreational. 

Comparisons to tobacco are invalid. It took 50 years for the powers that be to recognize the adverse health ramifications of smoking tobacco. That's why tobacco is banned in public places. If second-hand tobacco smoke is dangerous, think what second hand pot smoke can and does do to children. Can we afford to wait 50 years to learn the ultimate damage from pot? It's already been proven it destroys brain cells, especially in adolescents, is addictive, The new stronger strains of pot will increase the appetite of users for longer and higher highs leading to stronger drugs. Pot is a gateway drug.

Additionally, and I know you'll ask this question, why is pot worse than alcohol and tobacco? It isn't....but why assecerbate an already problematic addictive personality. Would you throw gasoline on your house if it was burning? Same principle.

Why the character assassination of Dr. Turner and Mr. Sembler? Do you know them? Have you ever heard of them before? Or is it just that you want legal pot and it could be Mother Theresa and the Pope against it and you would defame them. 

Yes, Karma is a bitch... and if Florida passes the amendment, they will be bitten in the butt and pay the price. No more will it be a "family" vacation destination. Would you rather trade tourism dollars for drug-tainted money? 

There are various medical benefits being tested, but let the clinical and medical community continue to study this to be sure that in the long term, patient's conditions aren't worsened by ingesting pot. No caring and ethical physician would tell a sick person to smoke pot. There are hundreds of studies, articles, reports, and commentaries on the subject. Read and learn while you still have brain cells. If you're a pot smoker, please do it soon. 


@ccsmommy @FlyingTooLow

Pot did not 'ruin my life'... The laws against it 'disrupt' a LOT of folks' lives...there are thousands just like me...many thousands...

We are human beings...trying to live our lives in our own way...bringing harm to no one nor their property...

I wish you the very best, ccsmommy...

A million thanks for your response...stay safe...stay happy...stay out of trouble...prison is not fun...


@FlyingTooLow @ccsmommy  My apologies. and congratulations for mending your ways. I hope you tell people how pot ruined your life to make up for those "indiscretions". 

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kevin_hunt ... supported and lied for that festering turd A64, which surrendered TOTAL CONTROL of marijuana over to the same Prohibitionist Politicians, Insatiable Dept. of Revenue pigs, and Law Enforcement Jackboots who've been running the drug war all these years ...

... all for a pathetic ounce! ... for some adults.

A64 did NOT repeal a single Felony marijuana statute in Colorado.

A64 did NOT repeal a single Misdemeanor marijuana statute in Colorado.

A64 EXPLICITLY excluded ALL ADULTS under 21 from any legal access to rec. marijuana, under full penalty of CRIMINAL DRUG charges. No even a single gram.

A64 EXPLICITLY declared that consensual sales between private adults are ILLEGAL ... maintaining FELONY charges for even a single gram.

A64 EXPLICITLY declared that DUI-marijuana shall forever remain ILLEGAL, leaving it to the prohibitionist pigs to set pathetically low limits which essentially criminalize ALL regular medical marijuana users.

A64 EXPLICITLY TAXES the SHIT out of marijuana, offering the insatiable tax pigs $40 MILLION per YEAR, and allowing them to set WHATEVER RATE they want, without ANY LIMIT.

And brain-dead bong-sucking imbeciles like YOU supported that piece of crap with a never ending series of blatant LIES and DECEPTIONS.

YOU, and lying asswipe fucktards like you are WORSE than any "prohibitionist".

Now go fuck yourself, loser.


@DonkeyHotay Donkey Hotay never misses a chance to stand up in support of career prohibitionists like Carlton Turner.


@ccsmommy @bjohnm @joysgonenuts  A study in the August 2012 edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.

Using a nationally representative sample from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the study blasts holes in drug war orthodoxy wide enough to drive a truck through, definitively proving that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether a person will move on to more dangerous substances.


@ccsmommy @bjohnm @joysgonenuts  " It's already been proven it destroys brain cells"?  Wrong again.

The myth that "marijuana causes brain damage" came from a study by Dr. Heath.. "the Heath “Voodoo” Research methodology involved strapping Rhesus monkeys into a chair and pumping them with equivalent of 63 Colombian strength joints in “five minutes, through gas masks,” losing no smoke. [it was] discovered that Heath had administered 63 joints in five minutes over just three months instead of administering 30 joints per day over a one-year period as he had first reported. Heath did this, it turned out, in order to avoid having to pay an assistant’s wages every day for a full year.


@ccsmommy @bjohnm @joysgonenuts  "Why the character assassination of Dr. Turner and Mr. Sembler? "

...because they are downright EVIL.

Sembler and his wife, Betty, founded a chain of such institutions under the name Straight, Inc., which at its peak in the ‘80s had 12 clinics in nine states and a track record of extreme abuse

In one of many stories from Straight that have been exposed, a teenage girl testified to being compelled into the program after being caught with an airline bottle of liquor given to her by a friend, and then beaten, raped, locked in a janitor’s closet in pants soiled by urine, feces, and menstrual blood. This punishment was called "Humble Pants"


@ccsmommy @bjohnm @joysgonenuts  

No expert honestly believes cannabis causes homosexuality.  Your logic is twisted!  You admit that alcohol and tobacco are worse but are fine with them being legal, and you're excuse for cannabis is don't make the problem worse?  Why not fight to make everything illegal and well just lock the whole friggin country up.  Plenty of caring and ethical physicians recommend cannabis instead of the disgusting, side effect riddled prescription pills.  While millions of people are addicted and overdosing on completely legal meds, you sit there on your high horse looking down on people who choose a completely natural med that has been used as medicine for millennia.  Your self righteous banter is nauseating and insulting.  You have ZERO facts to back up your nonsense.  Medical cannabis has been around for 20 years, and recent studies show lower crime, traffic fatalities and teen use in state with medical programs.  Not to mention the Netherlands are top 2 in math and science, have low drug use rates among native born and completely dominate international speed skating.  Do everyone a favor and stop bothering people who have done nothing to you.


Wow someone's been chugging the kool-aid! Where are your citations for these claims you pose as facts?? As in APA style, if you even know what that means. Are you truly that brainwashed?? I've been smoking pot for 20 years daily, have an MBA and certainly I'm not dumb enough to just believe everything some brainwashed idiot spews on the internet. J/s.


Wow some one's been chugging the kool-aid! Where are your citations for these claims you pose as facts???

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