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Sheriff, attorney face off in medical marijuana discussion

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Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:31 pm | Updated: 11:40 am, Thu Feb 13, 2014.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Two sides in the debate about medical marijuana came face to face in Sarasota Wednesday, as attorney John Morgan and Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight shared the stage at a Tiger Bay discussion.

“You can sit here and tell us that with this amendment, the drug cartel will not come into Sarasota County. Let me tell you something, Sheriff – they’re here now," said Morgan.

He and Sheriff Knight have very opposing beliefs on the matter. Knight thinks passing a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana will cause more harm than good.

"If passed, we will see medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Sarasota County. We will see children getting their hands on it.  And more importantly, when you start taxing a product like this, that creates a whole extra crime problem for us where it goes underground, and people start manufacturing and selling it."

On the other hand, people like John Morgan say marijuana is already underground and disputes the belief that passing the ballot initiative will have a negative impact on crime. “I’ve watched Colorado, I’ve watched Washington State, I've not seen Tony Soprano and company roll in yet."

Morgan has been a driving force in the effort to legalize medical marijuana. He says that crime statistics are being used as a scare tactic to prevent those like his brother, who uses the drug to ease pain, from reaping its benefits. "He was paralyzed. His pain is immeasurable. If he took all the pills they want him to take, he would be a zombie. This takes away his spasms, eliminates his pain."

Morgan says if the measure passes, he wants to name it Tim's law after his brother. But he says his goal is to make sure those who could see their quality of life improved from the drug can get it. "Everybody's talking about the benefits of medical marijuana. Now the door is open and sun is shining in, and we’re hearing testimony, evidence, scientific reports, so anything that gets the word out and stirs the debate is good for all the people who are really sick and need this."

In the meantime, Sheriff Knight says he anticipates the worst. “I would not be standing here speaking as hard as I can as the sheriff of Sarasota County if I didn't know for fact that we are going to get a ton of crime and our quality of life is going to be affected by this."

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  • seabourne posted at 11:47 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    seabourne Posts: 3

    Recently I was asked, "If you only had 3 pieces of "empirical scientific data" to present in favor of de-scheduling cannabis off the Controlled Substances Act, which would they be?!
    My Answer:
    Role of the endocannabinoid system in food intake, energy homeostasis and regulation of the endocrine pancreas.

    Antineoplastic and apoptotic effects of cannabinoids. N-acylethanolamines: protectors or killers?

    We all have an endocannabinoid system. Our bodies run on cannabinoids. Some people do not make enough endocannabinoids, for them cannabis is the best medicine. Cannabis oil kills cancer without harming the body like Chemo.

  • seabourne posted at 11:35 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    seabourne Posts: 3

    What the Sheriff fails to realize is we have these issues now because of the Black Market the same as during alcohol prohibition. We don't see Cartels selling alcohol or tobacco. Good legislation is required and has been introduced in the Florida Legislature. SB 962 - Medical Use of Cannabis which is meant to legalize all the medicine for all the patients. The only problem will be if they pass SB 1030 Medical-grade Marijuana and Cannabis which limits “Medical-grade marijuana” means a substance that contains no more than 0.5 percent or less of any tetrahydrocannabinol and at least 15 percent cannabidiol and The term does not include the possession, use, or administration by smoking. While High CBD Low THC is good for seizures, the rest of the patients need the rest of the medicine. Cancer patients and others need more THC.

  • gpicciuto posted at 8:09 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    gpicciuto Posts: 1

    Could not have said it better myself. He's speaking as hard as he can because he's about to loose easy money and arrests.

  • tim posted at 5:43 pm on Wed, Feb 12, 2014.

    tim Posts: 106

    the good sheriff is not being honest. what the cops are REALLY afraid of is that their gestapo raids over marijuana will stop and their un-american, un-constitutional, civil asset forfeiture money will dry-up. but gosh; they have sooo much fun playing army-man-hero, busting down doors and murdering the family dog over illegal plants. looks like their fun is about to end....