Marijuana Prohibition Is Alive And Well in Florida

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 2, 2010

    Despite this amazing era of increased cannabis awareness and acceptability in America, there are still strong pockets of political resistance. One of the most important states that needs to exit the era of Reefer Madness post haste is the political bellwether Florida. Of America’s political behemoths–CA, IL, OH, TX, PA and NY–Florida is the state that has least embraced cannabis law reforms, defers way too much to law enforcement’s self-interests and it’s political leadership–Democrat and Republican–are lockstep prohibitionists.

    To reform cannabis laws in America means reforming the laws in a politically important and diverse state like Florida.

    However, when concerned citizens in Florida, like South Florida NORML’s Karen Goldstein, contact her elected officials like Governor Crist seeking parity with about one-third of the United States’ citizens who currently reside in states that have either decriminalized cannabis, or have ‘medicalized’ it, they instead receive disingenuous Reefer Madness-soaked replies from unelected, self-interested prohibition apologists.

    To wit…

    April 16, 2010

    Dear Mrs. Goldstein:

    Governor Crist received your email and forwarded it to me for a response.  I am the Director of the Florida Office of Drug Control.  First, thank you for expressing your opinion to our Governor.

    It is important to understand that our federal and state drug control policies have one overarching goal: to reduce and, if possible, eliminate the use of illicit drugs like marijuana.  Establishing a taxed and regulated legal market for adult marijuana users would not advance the goal of our drug policies.  First, legal access to marijuana would likely result in steep usage rate increases.  Our experience with alcohol and tobacco has taught us that commercial interests weaken sensible regulatory efforts.

    A legal marijuana industry would employ promotion, advertising, and lobbying to increase demand while maintaining prices well below their current black market levels.  Stimulating demand while lowering prices would undoubtedly lead to both increases in the number of Americans that use marijuana as well as the intensity with which they use it.

    I am very concerned about the health and wellbeing of Florida citizens.  The deaths caused each year by alcohol and tobacco represent a major cost to society that is in no way offset by the tax revenue generated by the sales of these substances.  Furthermore, I do not believe that the adverse consequences of marijuana use (respiratory diseases, traffic fatalities, poor school performance, dependence, etc.) could ever offset the potential tax revenue it might generate.

    Any policy change that results in an increase in marijuana use, particularly among youth, is unacceptable.  Cannabis use has acute effects on attention and memory, something that constitutes a particular problem for adolescents still in school and perhaps contemplating a collegiate future. Furthermore, marijuana use impairs judgment and motor skills, posing a serious risk of automobile accidents.  It is also estimated that about 10% of marijuana users eventually become dependent on it.  By enforcing policies that suppress the use of addictive drugs like marijuana, we are affirming our ultimate respect for freedom and liberty by ensuring that fewer Americans get trapped into a life of addiction.

    Finally, please be aware that federal and Florida laws prohibit “medical marijuana” because an expert review of the evidence conducted by the Institute of Medicine concluded that “Smoked marijuana…is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances…[and] cannot be expected to provide a precisely defined drug effect.  For those reasons there is little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved medication.”  Safer and scientifically proven drugs exist for all of the medical conditions that marijuana is erroneously thought to treat.

    Again, thank you for your correspondence to Governor Crist.

    Bruce D. Grant
    Florida Office of Drug Control

    247 responses to “Marijuana Prohibition Is Alive And Well in Florida”

    1. pro.noncon. says:

      “By enforcing policies that suppress the use of addictive drugs like marijuana, we are affirming our ultimate respect for freedom and liberty by ensuring that fewer Americans get trapped into a life of addiction.”

      Seriously?!?!??? They expect us to believe this tripe??!?! This whole “thought” is a contradiction in it self. Here’s how it should read…

      “By enforcing policies that suppress…we are affirming our ultimate respect for freedom and liberty…”

    2. Edrie says:

      “It is also estimated that about 10% of marijuana users eventually become dependent on it.”

      I’d love to know where they got this stat from, because as far as I know, it’s completely false.

    3. jeff says:

      that’s why it’s called FLOOR I DUHHH.heck show me a so called drug with a lower so called addiction rate,as a 25yr plus smoker when i run out,very very rare i don’t curl up crapping and puking everywhere like when a dr.prescribed pill is missed.so keep up the lies, but to bad america knows the truth….DUUUHHHHH

    4. Ron says:

      Yes, this is a politically redneck state.

      It amazes me that he continually refers to kids and education. This is state has one of the worst education systems in the country.

      He is of the same ilk of politicians who try and create truth through pushing the same lies over and over until people believe they are true.

      Govenor Crist, you lied to your republican supporters, once you took office. You won’t win the Senate Seat. You are just getting in the way on the next election.

    5. Sean U Idaho says:

      I wish there was a way to have a debate with a prohibitionist where all citations and study reports were to be made available on demand. Everyone could finally see how shaky the prohibitionists arguments really are.

    6. Johnny Deece says:

      I prefer to make decisions myself, thats what liberty and the pursuit of happiness mean to me…

      Anyone who imposes their own will of views into action against anyone is in crime, because no-one has the right to decide how you live your PEACEFUL lyfe!

    7. Sid says:

      Is this guy serious? Its this type of backward thinking that will always hold us back. He talks about if legalized prices would be lower and use would be higher… not seeing a problem. Then this guy goes on to say that to protect our freedoms it needs to be illegal… Anyone else see that as ass backwards? Freedom means having the choice, and here our choice is taken away, I don’t call that freedom. This type of thinking is what holds America back in all facets, and until people begin using common sense and relying on accurate testing and reports for whatever they are debating on instead of religion and close minded ideals (Reefer madness), we can not progress in a positive direction as a country. There are plenty of reports out that show alcohol and tobacco are far more dangerous than marijuana, yet people like this guy seem to have never heard of them. However, in one Google search any person can pull up hundreds of test results and scientific findings on just this issue. Only to find out that just about every point this man made was bull. As a FL resident it makes me upset that such an important state in our country could be so repressed and behind on an issue as big as this one. I guess when you think about it private prisons and their lobbyists make far too much money and pay way too many bribes for legalization to occur.

    8. Richard T. says:

      I wonder what Bruce Grant thinks of the pill epidemic in Florida. Half the people, including late teens are living on oxy or some other opiate. Good call Bruce.

    9. moldy says:

      I guess his job is more important than millions of retired Florida citizens that could bennefit from the use of cannabis. Typical.

    10. Anonymous says: