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Published On: Fri, Oct 21st, 2016

Hemp Fest proves why Floridians should Vote NO on Amendment Two

Let me be clear: I believe in the decriminalization of marijuana and NOT the legalization of marijuana. Moreover, I believe the government can do one of three things: Promote, Permit and Prohibit something. Lastly, I cannot trust the medical marijuana activist movement that will not admit that this is a gateway step to full legalization.

To prove this last point, last weekend a “medical marijuana awareness” festival featured pot smoking on stage in front of children, a giant blunt display and the advocacy for marijuana candies. This was Hemp Fest: Tampa Medical Marijuana Awareness Fest in Lutz, FL, promoted as a family friendly event with food and games for kids and advertised free admission for children under 10.

As Florida votes on Amendment Two, “the allowance of medical marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions,” Hemp Fest is just a reminder of the dangers of this movement.

Vote sign photo/ Leslie Andrachuk via pixabay

Vote sign photo/ Leslie Andrachuk via pixabay

On the backs of seriously ill people is a group seeking to smoke pot and while most are responsible citizens, possibly smoking already, the language of the law and the movement ignores the dangers in society.

First, I agree with Grady Judd: “At the end of the day, smoked marijuana is not medicine.”

If THC was truly a cure, then the synthetic THC, like Dronabinol, would be advantageous enough and we wouldn’t be trying to get more bongs and pot candy on the streets. Pot and street versions like Spice, K2 have dangerous side effects and new research that shows smoking marijuana regularly as a teen can lower IQ.

Additionally, there is an addiction problem.

Certainly, this is NOT the same biochemical addiction like heroin or cocaine, but the anxiety, depression and habit forming of patterned life leads to an addictive nature. Even Lady Gaga spoke out about her marijuana addiction.

“I never met an addict who didn’t start out using marijuana,” Orange County Sheriff and Florida Sheriff’s Association President Jerry Demings said. On the amendment in question, he added that “Though it’s being billed as about medical, we know it’s about recreation…It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

I wish I didn’t have to agree.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Vivian McPeak says:

    As the executive director of the world’s largest annual HEMPFEST® I feel compelled to respond to the article written by Brandon Jones titled “Hemp Fest proves why Floridians should Vote NO on Amendment Two”, Fri, Oct 21st, 2016.

    While Mr. Jones is certainly entitled to his opinion his piece reveals that he has not been properly informed about the subject of medical marijuana.

    First off, I personally do not support imbibing on stage in the presence of children (and/or media). At our event, Seattle HEMPFEST, which enjoys in excess of 100,00 annual attendance, in its 25th year, smoking on stage (we have 6) is prohibited. So, I am not specifically critical of some of the characterizations that were presented in the piece in regard to aspects of that particular event, assuming the reports are accurate.

    However, the insistence that “smoked marijuana is not medicine” is just simply wrong. While there may be better delivery systems for cannabis (I prefer that term), many thousands of Americans have received relief from their symptoms from smoking pot.

    Elvy Musikka, for example, is a glaucoma patient who received, from the federal government monthly, a can loaded with pre-rolled joints, which she has been using, as part of a long standing pilot program, to treat the ravages of her disease (which much success).

    It would be good to mention that annually across the country, 44,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2013, more than double the number in 1999, the study by the non-profit group, Trust for America’s Health found. Nearly 52 percent of the deaths were related to prescription drugs. The number of overdose deaths increased in 26 states in the four years to 2013, the study found, and decreased in only six states.

    Would you suggest that pharmaceutical drugs are not medicine because there may be harm associated with their use, although many people enjoy benefits from them?

    Would you deny medical patients the option to treat their symptoms with something that id effective (cannabis) even though jot a single death from toxic reaction or overdose has ever been confirmed in 5,000 years of human consumption?

    It appears that is exactly your position. Based upon what you saw at a single event you are prepared to discredit a national movement that has gained enough momentum to change state law in defiance of federal law, something rare and unique.

    Our event generates as much as $7,000,000 annually for our county (based upon an economic impact survey generated in 2014), and supports 120 jobs in the region. This year our volunteer voter registration crew registered 1,982 Washingtonians to vote at our event.

    We annually average zero arrests at out event, and our accident, arrest, and injury statistics can stand against any other event of comparable size on the entire west coast. Did I mention we have 1198 crews and are staffed solely by volunteers?

    Americans deserve both sides of the story, so I offer this perspective.

    Sincerely, Vivian McPeak
    Executive Director, Seattle HEMPFEST

    • Brandon Jones says:

      First off, I’d like to thank Ms. McPeak for a great response. We encourage the dialogue and sharing of information.

      Regarding my overall position: This is NOT the first event or first experience with a legalization rally and I do empathize with those suffering from an illness and seeking treatment (like Elvy Musikka who was mentioned).

      No where did I imply that we don’t already suffer an epidemic of drug use and overdoses in this country – that would be an incorrect and ignorant statement. With that said marijuana has played an indirect role in fatalities and looking only at deaths from direct overdoses is a narrow way of examining a drug’s health effects.

      The main risk from marijuana is from the risky or stupid things people do after using it, such as driving, rather than from any toxic effects of the substance itself.

      For example, there are several examples of horrible accidents not just from driving while high, but after consuming pot candy or brownies and there have been at least one case of a synthetic marijuana overdose.

      While I appreciate the nature of your events, fundraising and volunteers, I don’t find it relevant to the argument. Maybe those are more family friendly or less about “promotion” and more about helping those strickened with illness, but legalization movement is wrought with a stigma I don’t see it escaping.

      I have to agree with law enforcement on the bill. I see this as a gateway to more problems and NOT a cure for those mentioned above.

      I repeat that I am grateful for your response and perspective.

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