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

Categories: Marijuana

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.

See also: United for Care's Ben Pollara Counters Arguments by Anti-Medical-Marijuana Crowd

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."

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

This BS amendment won't Legalize Marijuana in Florida ... not even close.

kevin_hunt topcommenter

During the 1978 Mexican marijuana paraquat scare, and while still a private citizen working for the state of Mississippi marijuana farm, Carlton Turner called High Times magazine to advertise a paraquat tester.

Unknown to Turner, High Times was not accepting ads for any paraquat testers because all evidence showed the testers didn’t work. High Times wanted to see a sample. When Turner delivered his prototype version of the paraquat test kit to High Times, it was a total “Rube Goldberg” type rip-off, “just like the dozen or so phony kits other companies tried to buy ad space for at this time,” wrote Latimer in an article published in 1984.

Turner apparently never thought High Times was ethical enough to check the contraption out. He assumed they would just take the ad money and run—print the ad and make Turner rich.

After this attempted mail fraud, this man became President Reagan’s national drug czar in 1981, recommended by George Bush and Nancy Reagan

Carlton Turner was forced to resign after Newsweek magazine excoriated him October 27, 1986, in a large editorial sidebar. His resignation was a foregone conclusion after being lampooned in the Washington Post for his conclusions (in public addresses) that marijuana smoking caused homosexuality.  


@DonkeyHotay  good for you. The BS this Pollara is spewing (and paid handsomely for doing so), is just that, BS. He's so far off base, he's in the outfield. He needs to get his facts straight. Dr. Turner NEVER stated pot causes aids and retractions were printed... he was misquoted repeatedly. The Washington Post set the record straight, as did others, but the pro marijuana coalition spins the news to their advantage to divert attention from the real issue, that being pot legalization in Florida is not good for the state or its people.


@kevin_hunt  Yeah, like I'd believe anything High Times published. Get your facts straight... it was NewsWeek that misquoted Dr. Turner on the pot causing aids debacle. 

You are quoting directly verbatim on an article (unsubstantiated) from High Times so it has no credibility. 

There was no forced resignation by Dr. Turner. Seven years in public service was enough and he moved on.

kevin_hunt topcommenter

@ccsmommy Did having sex with Carlton Turner cause YOUR case of AIDS?

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