United for Care's Ben Pollara to Debate Former Drug Czar Who Once Claimed Smoking Weed Leads to AIDS
Now that the Florida Supreme Court has approved to have a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana on the ballot this November, the group responsible for getting it there, United for Care, is all about getting the word out.
This week alone, the group has a daylong campaign scheduled to call registered voters and get the word out about Amendment 2.
Also on the docket will be United for Care's campaign manager, Ben Pollara, going head-to-head in a debate with former Ronald Reagan drug czar Carlton E. Turner.
Turner is famous for coming up with the "Just Say No" campaign that bombarded radio, TV, and comic books back in the 1980s, warning kids of the dangers of drugs. He's also known for claiming that marijuana is not only a gateway drug to other illegal substances but apparently also the gateway drug to AIDS.
"Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and ultimately, AIDS," Turner famously said in 1986.
The debate, which goes down on Thursday evening at St. Petersburg College, will have Pollara and Turner hashing out their differences in front of a crowd that is paying $30 a pop to attend.
"Any time you get invited to debate with a politician or someone like that, you get a little bit nervous," Pollara tells New Times. "But when I heard I'd be debating Carlton Turner, I got excited for this one."
Since his days serving under Reagan, Turner has remained active in his war against drugs, particularly with marijuana, which is being legalized as medicine across the country and may become legal in Florida if voters vote Yes on Amendment 2.
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."