United For Care Debunks Florida Police Chiefs Association's Latest Claims

Categories: Marijuana

The war of attrition between advocates for and opponents against medical marijuana in Florida entered another chapter this week, after the Florida Police Chiefs Association put out a media release on the dangers of medical weed legalization.

In the statement, the FPCA cited studies and stats showing how the number of automobile accidents and ER visits in Colorado have gone up, and drawing a direct correlation to the legalization of medical marijuana in that state.

This, United For Care says, is all false. And this, issued a media release of their own.

See also: Florida Supports Medical Marijuana 9-1, According to Poll

Last April, the FPCA aunched a staunch anti-Amendment 2 campaign called "Don't Let Florida Go to Pot," to derail and end the run to get medical marijuana legalized in Florida. They also created an off-shoot group called Drug Free Florida, and have gotten heavy hitting donors to join their anti-weed crusade.

Their biggest message has been how Amendment 2 is fraught with legal loopholes that would lead to all-out legalization of marijuana throughout the state.

"A vote for Amendment 2 is a vote for legalizing marijuana forever in the state of Florida," Florida Sheriffs Association president Sheriff Grady Judd says in a video the group released in May.

This claim was debunked by United For Care when New Times asked for a response to those constant claims.

"If there was any doubt, the Florida Supreme Court has already ruled that the amendment will only be used in cases of debilitating illness," United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara told New Times. "The purpose of the amendment is to allow the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician."

This latest FPCA claim now comes with stats. But, United For Care says those stats are misleading.

For example, the FPCA release says that studies show that marijuana use and crime are highly related.

United For Care counters this claim, saying that studies that show a connection to marijuana and crime are "extraordinarily misleading."

"Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States, and as such it can be highly related to every activity under the sun," United For Care's release says. "There are no studies whatsoever establishing that marijuana use directly leads to criminal activity."

Moreover, United For Care cites a peer-reviewed study from the University of Texas that analyzed two decades of FBI data to conclude that medical marijuana laws don't add to the crime rate whatsoever. In fact, the study says the opposite is true. Medical marijuana "may be related to reductions in rates of homicides and assault."

Another claim FPCA makes in their release is a study showing marijuana having a bad impact on businesses in an area where weed is prominent.

United For Care did some digging, and found the study cited is over 20 years old, and that it fails to alcohol use among employees in their study,

As for the raise in ER visits due to marijuana, United For Care says that those stats are incomplete because it's a blanket statement without a proper time frame.

"One hundred twenty ER visits per month, per year or per decade?" United For Care says. "In order to put this in perspective, though, according to the CDC's 2010 figures, "headaches - pain in the head" accounted for 3,100 ER visits per 100,000 people in the U.S. that year."

United For Care also debunks the FPCA's biggest claim -- the one about auto accident deaths being connected to weed.

"It has long been established that testing positive for marijuana does not prove driver impairment at the time of an accident," United for Care says.

Indeed, a recent study published in the Journal of Law and Economics using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the years 1990-2010 shows that traffic fatalities showed no increase in states where medical marijuana has been approved. In fact, the study shows that accidents fell by 8-10% in the first full year of legalization.

Still, no doubt the FPCA will continue to put the full-court press on voters on the fence about the legalization of medical marijuana. Even with a recent study showing that Floridians favor it by a 9-1 margin.

The biggest dogs in the fight appear to be those in power. Just this month, the FPCA endorsed Attorney General Pam Bondi for re-election.

Bondi, you may recall, was the first to bring up the loophole claims in the amendment when it was first proposed.

"Any physician could approve marijuana for seemingly any reason to seemingly any person [of any age] -- including those without any 'debilitating disease,'" she said in a letter written to the Florida Supreme Court. "So long as a physician held the opinion that the drug use 'would likely outweigh' the risks, Florida would be powerless to stop it."

The Florida Supreme Court eventually ruled in favor of having the amendment be decided by the voters.

That will be happening this November.

Until then, the battle wages on.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.
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riverrat69 topcommenter

"Reefer Madness" 1936 all over again.


Why the heck can't public officials listen to the people.  We want legal marijuana.  Who are the biggest beneficiaries of illegal marijuana?  The cops.  More kids will have access to marijuana?  Where the heck do you think we have to get it from now?  Kids! 

I am SO tired of politicians ignoring us.

knowa1 topcommenter

hen you study how the Nixon policy of scheduling marijuana against what his medical adviser Dr. Egeberg who was bullied into only a temporary classification #1 1970 and discarded 700 pages of his own commissioned Shafer report. We are now going into our 45th year of temporary classification of marijuana still waiting for the final classification of cannabis and in these past many years they still have not found any scientific justification for its prohibition.


How self-serving and childish can you possibly get?  The FPCA is ONLY interested in protecting their "turf" - that is, the "cash cow" they have enjoyed for so long, all at the expense of the victims of their cannabis "persecution", not to mention the taxpayers who have to foot the bill for this nonsense.  Imagine, once Amendment 2 passes on Election Day, how much extra time they'll have to go after violent criminal offenders, as opposed to busting ordinary members of your community who happen to get caught with cannabis.  Oh well, all "good" things must come to an end, and the police will have to get used to their "new normal" which will put them in the position of having to do actual police work, not just simply "shooting ducks in a barrel".  I look forward to the extra security that they'll be able to provide now that they won't have to spend so much time chasing people around on ridiculous cannabis possession charges!


as NWA famously said, fuck the police

knowa1 topcommenter

@Cracked_Actor You don't get Federal cash for going after rape and murderers 

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