Don't Let Florida Go to Pot pushes safety issues

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In November, you'll be asked to say yes or no to legalizing wider use of medical marijuana in our state. Supporters say it could be a tax windfall for the state. Opponents warn of increased costs for law enforcement and a spike in drug use by kids.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - As state officials ramp up efforts to grow and distribute Charlotte's Web, a low-grade form of marijuana, a coalition of anti-drug advocates is upping the volume on its anti-marijuana message.

Six of every 10 voters would have to vote yes for medical marijuana to become law in Florida. In the ten states where marijuana has been voted upon by the public, five of the 10 had approval margins above 60 percent.

In "Reefer Madness," a 1936 movie aimed at the problems of marijuana, the drug is depicted as a killer.

Now, the Don't Let Florida Go to Pot coalition says many of the fears of yesteryear are a reality where medical marijuana has been legalized.

Rachel O'Bryan of Smart Colorado said the path to legalization in Colorado could be duplicated in Florida under Amendment 2.

"It will allow the use of marijuana for any medical condition," O'Bryan said. "It will allow teenagers to obtain it. It will allow for the development of marijuana foods, including candies that will appeal to kids."

Sheriffs supported the Charlotte's Web legalization earlier this year after initially opposing it. But they are opposed to full-blown medical marijuana.

"More dispensaries than Starbucks," said Seminole County Sheriff Don Enslinger. "(Department of Health), their own numbers estimate 789 dispensaries or treatment centers within Florida."

But the DOH, the same people who will regulate Charlotte's web, which sheriffs supported, will also be responsible for saying who and how people would get medical marijuana.

Florida's amendment would allow edible pot, and the anti-pot advocates are quick to point out the one case in Denver where someone ate far too much marijuana.

"His product, you know, was a cookie, with six servings of marijuana in it in one cookie," O'Bryan said.

In the U.S., 23 states and the District of Columbia have some form of legalized medical marijuana.

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