Drug abuse prevention advocates fear marijuana legalization

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Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 6:32 pm | Updated: 6:12 pm, Wed Aug 21, 2013.

BRADENTON - The push to make marijuana legal could appear on the ballot in 2014.  Advocates for legal marijuana have mastered the marketing – and gotten the money – to change people's perceptions of pot, and that leaves people who work against drug abuse struggling to blunt a rising tide in favor of blunts.

“I think the proponents of marijuana have been really brilliant at how they have framed marijuana,” says Sharon Kramer, Executive Director of the Manatee County Substance Abuse Coalition. Instead of potheads, they show you Cathy Jordan, the Parrish woman with Lou Gehrig's Disease who says that smoking pot has kept her alive.

And it has worked. 19 states plus the District of Columbia allow marijuana for medical use, and two others – Washington State and Colorado – have approved use for anyone over 21. “It makes me sad, it makes me scared, again the perception of harm is going down,” says Jessica Spencer, who leads the Manatee County Youth Commission. She and Kramer see what they believe is a growing danger.

“We're going to suggest that smoking marijuana is medical?” Kramer asks. “I would suggest that it's a hoax.”

But a recent poll suggests that 70% of people in Florida support so-called medical marijuana." The Cathy Jordan bill went nowhere in the legislature this year. But a group backed by prominent attorney John Morgan aims to get the nearly 800,000 petition signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.  And when voters see people like Cathy Jordan, Kramer says, it's hard for them to hear the facts.

“Less than five percent are using it for any medical condition like HIV/AIDS or cancer,” Kramer says. Yes, the state would make tax revenue from pot, but Kramer notes that the state makes money from alcohol and tobacco taxes, too, but it's only a tiny fraction of the cost to society in heath care, crime and substance abuse treatment.

Monday, Kramer, Spencer, and other drug abuse prevention specialists from across the region meet in St. Petersburg to look for ways to get their message out in the face of what they expect to be a big advertising campaign in favor of legalizing marijuana in Florida.

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  • methe people posted at 8:21 am on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    methe people Posts: 1

    I have to concur with what herbalmagick wrote and replied on this topic. Prohibition on medical marijuana is a bunch bunk. What would you or Jessica Spencer do or any of your family members do if you were down to last options for help with pain or say your so sick from chemo treatments you not eating and withering away and the marijuana is the only thing left to help you? I dare to say you would use it. Go squawk about all the people that Alcohol has killed and keeps killing from drivers that get behind the wheel . The death toll from cannabis is and will always remain at zero.

  • Herbalmagick posted at 2:24 pm on Sun, Jun 9, 2013.

    Herbalmagick Posts: 1

    "“We're going to suggest that smoking marijuana is medical?” Kramer asks. “I would suggest that it's a hoax.”
    Cannabis has a 5,000 year history of medicinal and recreational use. It was a major component of prescription and OTC medications until a racist campaign was staged by business interests that didn't want competition from hemp. Today, marijuana prohibition is a cash cow for the rehab industry, the private prison industry, and law enforcement agencies. They would rather see Americans locked up or "treated" for the use of a substance that is far safer than alcohol or tobacco. Alcohol kills 75,000 Americans every year. Tobacco kills 450,000. In it's 5,000 year history, the death toll for cannabis remains at zero.

  • StopTheFear posted at 4:28 pm on Sat, Jun 8, 2013.

    StopTheFear Posts: 2

    The really sad hoax is the fear being spread by these people in the Substance Abuse Coalitions. They have no science to fall back on so they claim allowing medical access to cannabis will somehow influence adolescence usage. These are two separate issues - the adolescents seem to already have full access due to the large criminal market for cannabis - a direct product of Prohibition. Medical Cannabis usage would allow cannabis to be legal for those with a Doctors prescription. There experts have nothing but a gut feeling, a fear that Medical Cannabis can't be good and they are obsessed with a need to control society. How this control obsession is any different then communism I really don't understand - its counter to the very principles America is founded on (btw - those founders used cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use). In 20 states thousands of Medical Doctors are prescribing cannabis to treat tens of thousands of patients and yet these substance abuse experts call it a hoax. What right do they have to counter the medical communities advice? Daily science is proving them wrong and they search for more ways to spread fear.
    So what happens if they become addicted to coffee? not much, cigarettes and alcohol kill about 500,000 Americans annually. Cannabis has killed no one. So why prohibit a substance that kills no one and allow other substances that kills so many? It's like gun laws, large soda laws in NY or any of the other "Control" society laws - they just don't work.
    It's time for us to stop ruining people's lives, cannabis prohibition is an utter failure - the people hurt the most by cannabis use are the family's that have been thru the legal system and carry the stigma of doing something that hurts no one.
    Finally, cannabis legalization in the US would deny narco-terrorist Billions in capital every year. Legalize it, tax it, and educate the public. Kids have access to a lot of things we don't want them have access to but the higher we move the cookie jar in the shelf the more appealing it looks to them. We have to stop putting our children in jail and start educating them.

  • FreedomTruth posted at 2:21 pm on Sat, Jun 8, 2013.

    FreedomTruth Posts: 1

    Monday, Kramer, Spencer, and other drug abuse prevention specialists are nothing more than fear-mongering shills for their occupations. They must also beleive in the
    Five false tacit beliefs that permeate the "drug war"

    1) That "drug use" is understood to only refer to drugs that are "illicit".
    2) That using "legal" drugs does not count as drug use.
    3) That any use at all, under any circumstances, is "abuse".
    4) That zero tolerance prohibition is the only acceptable policy.
    5) That availability "promotes" use. So....what about tobacco, etc ??

    Nobody wants to hear your "reefer madness" rhetoric anymore!

  • jimgray27 posted at 4:16 am on Sat, Jun 8, 2013.

    jimgray27 Posts: 1

    I don't think that the Rehab industry is as evil and self serving as the Privatized Prison industry, nor do I think it's entirely benign. Accepting the opinions and anecdotal evidence from people who have vested interests in Rehabs and the law enforcement officials that are dependent on federal funds is just not 'good science'. The Prohibitionists make ridiculous claims that are refuted by valid studies and they ignore the evidence and come up with, 'I think that....'.

    and it harm none, do what you will

  • Chris3145 posted at 2:00 am on Sat, Jun 8, 2013.

    Chris3145 Posts: 1

    These people are the biggest lying fruads!!!!!!
    This statement is at the heart of all their lies

    “We're going to suggest that smoking marijuana is medical?” Kramer asks. “I would suggest that it's a hoax.”

    Ok kramer your either ignorant or a liar the US Department of human health and human resorces owns the patent on medical marijuana the hoax as you so put it.....
    US PATENT #6630507 is the patent on your "hoax"

    These people are not to believed or trusted they are liars......they are only trying to protect their paychecks and jobs........no more illegal cannabis no more court ordered drug treatment at one their facilities............their only sad because the only danger they really see is their own bugets being cut.......

    They will use the normal scare tactics ie children teens.....then they bring up the FDA even though FDA approved drugs kill over 100,00 people a year cannabis zero deaths in 5,000 yrs of use.........


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