Pubdate: Mon, 10 Nov 2014
Source: Florida Today (Melbourne, FL)
Copyright: 2014 Florida Today
Author: Randy Eastep
Page: A8


The defeat of Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical
marijuana in Florida, was disappointing and alarming.

I would have believed at least 60 percent of voters had compassion for
those suffering from an ailment that marijuana may have helped.
Studies have shown cannabis has the potential to be of great
assistance to many ill people. It was alarming in that the voters were
misled by 1930sa=C2=80=C2=99 reefer madness-type propaganda.

Numerous negative campaign ads aimed at scaring the public apparently
were very successful. Some stated the legalization of medical
marijuana would lead to more crime.

A recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas
and published in the Journal of the Public Library of Science ,
refutes this notion. The researchers concluded there was no increase
in crimes rates as a result of legalizing medical marijuana and, in
fact, a=C2=80=C2=9Cfound some evidence of decreasing rates of some types 
violent crime, namely homicide and assault.a=C2=80=C2=9D

A recent study conducted by the FBI had similar results, as did a
study published in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs .

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a
study indicating that states with medical marijuana had a 25 percent
reduction in prescription drug overdose deaths, as well as heroin
overdoses, compared to states without such legislation. This is of
particular concern since abuse of prescription drugs has reached
epidemic proportions in Florida.

In the future, I would hope voters are given the truth concerning the
issues placed before them.

Randy Eastep

Merritt Island Criminal justice professor EFSC
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