Email Insights: A battle of cautionary tales in the medical marijuana fight

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Colorado has problems with marijuana — and the folks at Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot are happy to point that out, and Florida could be next.

After the state legalized medical marijuana in 2010 and recreational pot in 2012, Colorado schools and law enforcement agencies are now finding pot cropping up in middle schools.

The anti-marijuana legalization group of more than 100 local and state organizations, from law enforcement to substance abuse experts, warns that if Florida Amendment 2 passes, it will be the “canary in a coal mine” for what could ultimately happen in Florida —widespread marijuana use.

In a recent press release, Go to Pot points out the concerns of Colorado law enforcement and school safety officials who have found marijuana use by students as young as 12.

The Florida group is warning that any legalization of marijuana will result in an overall permissive attitude towards drug use. In the case of Colorado, it has led school psychologists “seeing more incidents of kids smoking and thinking it is the safe thing to do.”

Go to Pot also cites a 2013 study coming out of Northwestern University finding that teens who were heavy marijuana users had abnormal changes in brain structures affecting working memory, leading to poor performance in memory tasks.

Weak oversight of pot dispensaries is to blame, says Calvina Fay, director of the Drug Free America Foundation, a nationwide organization inspiring the statewide Go to Pot movement.

That is the argument opponents have made since the start.

“Amendment 2 is full of loopholes, including no age restrictions, which may allow youth to easily obtain marijuana without parental consent,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who is also president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. The FSA is spearheading opposition to medical marijuana.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.