Pubdate: Sat, 01 Nov 2014
Source: Palm Beach Post, The (FL)
Copyright: 2014 The Palm Beach Post
Author: Brad King
Note: Brad King, state attorney for the 5th Judicial Circuit, serves 
as chairman of the Judicial Administration Commission and has also 
been twice elected president of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys 
Association. He served as a member of the Innocence Commission.
Page: 15


George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are 
condemned to repeat it." The question for Florida voters is whether 
Floridians want to be condemned to the historic effects that 
legalized marijuana has had on the health, education and safety of 
citizens in Colorado. No one has yet fairly informed Florida voters 
of the documented results of the "Colorado Calamity." Do we really 
want this history repeated in the Sunshine State?

The good news is that it's not too late for Floridians to wake up. A 
look at the results of legalized marijuana in Colorado gives clear 
reasons why legalized marijuana under Amendment 2 is bad for Florida. 
Make no mistakes, Amendment 2 is about legalizing marijuana in 
Florida. Its biggest backers have made that clear.

Denver's elected prosecutor, Mitchell Morrissey, who has firsthand 
knowledge of the criminal effects of legalized marijuana, has given 
us a summary of the problems that the good citizens of Colorado now 
face with legalized marijuana. In his Sept. 15 letter (abridged) to 
Florida's state attorneys, he tells Floridians what they will face if 
marijuana is legalized:

"Recent findings from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug 
Trafficking Area give us a snapshot of what is happening, and it is concerning.

"We now have nearly 500 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, 
and 212 retail stores. Most are in Denver (215 medical marijuana 
dispensaries and 77 retail stores). There are also hundreds of 
cultivation facilities and dozens of infused marijuana product businesses.

"Since 2007, there have been 15 violent deaths related to just 
medical marijuana in Colorado. In each of these deaths, the victim 
was a medical marijuana caregiver, or was killed in the presence of a 
caregiver ... Dispensaries and stores are lucrative targets for 
burglaries and robberies. The large sums of cash at these sites have 
led to execution-style murders and shootouts in residential 
neighborhoods. There have also been more than 300 burglaries and 
seven armed robberies in Denver in the last two years. I do not 
expect the figures this year to improve.

"From 2011 to 2013, there was a 57 percent increase in emergency room 
visits related to marijuana, and ER doctors noted they treated more 
small children for accidental overdoses of marijuana. Children are 
also being exposed when mothers use pot during pregnancy or 
breastfeeding, as an increasing number of women now report they are 
trying marijuana for morning sickness or other uses while pregnant. 
There has also been an increase in calls to our local poison control 
center involving marijuana and children.

"The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports marijuana use among 
high school seniors is increasing and may soon become more common 
than cigarette smoking. This may be connected to the increase we are 
seeing in the number of adults who encourage marijuana use among 
young people and adults who are actually using marijuana with a 
minor. There was a 26 percent increase in monthly marijuana use in 
Colorado among young people, ages 12-17, in the three years after 
medical marijuana was commercialized (2009) compared to the three 
years prior to commercialization.

"There was a 32 percent increase in drug-related suspensions and 
expulsions in Colorado for academic school years 200809 to 2012-13. A 
June 2014 Rocky Mountain HIDTA survey of 100 Colorado school resource 
officers revealed 89 percent have seen an increase in student 
marijuana-related incidents since retail marijuana was legalized.

"We have seen a sharp increase in dangerous hash oil explosions. In 
the first six months of 2014 there have been 26 confirmed explosions 
and 27 reported injuries.

"And we have seen an impact on our roads. One in nine drivers in 
fatal crashes now test positive for marijuana."

You can prevent the "Colorado Calamity" in Florida. Protect our 
children by voting "No" on Amendment 2.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom