Published On: Fri, Oct 21st, 2016

Hemp Fest proves why Floridians should Vote NO on Amendment Two

NIDA’s 2013 Monitoring the Future survey results indicate that by the time they graduate high school, 45.5 percent of U.S. teens will have tried marijuana at least once. Also, 36.4 percent of 12th graders, 29.8 percent of 10th graders, and 12.7 percent of eighth graders say they smoked it during the past year. More than 6 percent of seniors say they smoke it daily, putting them at higher risk for addiction.

“Our goal for teens is to give them the straight, science-based facts so that they can make smart choices and be their best selves—without drugs,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “We hope that they will continue the conversation and share this information with their peers, parents, teachers, and others.”

The immediate response is that “Everyone is already doing it” and how you cannot stop those kids.

So, should we move from PROHIBIT to PROMOTE?

That was Hemp Fest: unadulterated promotion.

It was in 2014, that Florida approved cannabidiol-based extracts for medical purposes as a “last resort” for patients suffering from severe epilepsy as well as cancer. That is what “medical marijuana” should be – a last resort.

During September, the data from Colorado’s legalization shined a new light on unforeseen problems.

The state was a 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013, teen use increased quickly, resulting in naive teens overdosing or needing emergency care and there was a 46 percent increase in hospitalizations related to marijuana.

I believe we can STOP ruining people’s lives over possession and stop spending so many resources on non-violent crime in general, much of which is tied to marijuana arrests. But that is decriminalization and NOT full legalization or a step in that direction.

While I ascribe to the notion that the drug laws are draconian and abused, I still cannot support Amendment 2 at this time. I foresee a time when legalization is law of the land, but I also foresee a ton of new problems and challenges as a result.

Not enough time as gone by since the 2014 move on oil and the true fallout from Colorado (and other states) with regard to GOOD crime stats and problems for us in the wake of legalization.

photo Bart Everson Armstrong Legalize Marijuana

photo Bart Everson Armstrong Legalize Marijuana

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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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