Constitutional amendments should be rare. They should be saved for
issues that the regular political process is unable or unwilling to handle.
That is the reason that 60 percent is needed for amending the Florida
Constitution. Direct democracy ought to be the exception in this republic.
In this general election, voters will get a break. There are just
three proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot as opposed to
the 11 in 2012.
YES ON AMENDMENT 1
Protecting water in the Sunshine State is likely to be the natural
resource issue of the next generation, not only drinking water but
the water that intersects the state like a blood system.
[continues 732 words]
To the Editor:
Re "Mexico's Cartel Government," by Ioan Grillo (Op-Ed, Oct. 10):
As a former State Department official who covered narcotics issues in
Mexico from 2012 to this year, I saw "state capture" - the taking
over of chunks of government apparatus, in this case, local police
and municipal authorities - up close.
Beyond making atrocities like the suspected massacre in Iguala
possible, the buying and selling of Mexican police officers also
warns us against well-intentioned but dangerous efforts to legalize
the cultivation of drugs there.
[continues 100 words]
Regarding "Prop. 47: Right, right, right - wrong" (Oct. 16): I am a
certified chemical dependency counselor working with this population
for more than 20 years. Here's the truth: Treatment is more
cost-effective than prison.
Prop 47 will change sentences for only the lowest-level drug and
property offenses. In the first five years $1 billion would go to
K-12 education, mental health, drug treatment and services for crime victims.
We've been locking people up with a chemical dependency problem and
it's costing us $60,000 a year per person. We could instead spend
that on teachers, counselors and even police officers and save.
San Diego's first legal medical marijuana dispensary has been
approved by City Hall. It could still be appealed, but it's likely
the dispensary will be in operation in Otay Mesa before the year is
out. A few more are expected to follow soon afterward in other city
A lawyer for the new dispensary called it "a great day for the city
of San Diego and its residents who need medical marijuana."
It is not as though patients cannot now get marijuana. There is
another legal dispensary already operating just outside El Cajon. And
take a look at certain alternative publications. The back pages are
full of ads for pot shops throughout the city. They're all operating
illegally, more than 100 of them. These joints sprout up faster than
the city can shut them down.
[continues 67 words]
"Considerable downside to decriminalization of pot" (Our Views, Oct.
13) criticized state Sen. Connie Johnson for advocating
decriminalizing marijuana use. Yet any thinking person has to
recognize the wisdom of Johnson's position. Pot shouldn't be
categorized as a Schedule I drug. It's not addictive like opiates or
amphetamines. Despite the claims of law enforcement officials, it's
not a "gateway drug."
Enforcement of laws against marijuana possession, use and sale result
in racial inequities in arrest and prosecution of perpetrators. A New
York Times editorial on Oct. 11 noted that an equal percentage of
blacks and whites use illegal drugs, but blacks are arrested three
times as often. A Seattle study found that 16 percent of observed
drug dealers of the five most dangerous drugs were black, but they
represented 64 percent of arrests for dealing those drugs.
[continues 105 words]
Re Your Kids Brain On Pot (Life & Arts, Oct. 17): The point of
legalization is to make it much harder for children to obtain pot.
Gangsters don't care who buys their product, whether it's pot or
heroin. We need to legalize and apply strict regulations, allowing
public health officials - not the prison system - to deal with the
negative consequences of drug use.
Paula Mallea, author, The War on Drugs; Gore Bay, Ont.
When I was younger, I probably would have supported legalizing
marijuana as well, but due to some personal trials and tribulations
that I went through, Amendment 2 is something that I absolutely cannot
support. And, hopefully by telling my story, I can show you, and
everyone else in Florida, why this amendment is bad news, plain and
Rewind to my formative years; I was far-above-average in school and a
gifted athlete. But, as a child, I had endured some abuse, and
subsequently, became disillusioned and ended up taking some wrong
turns and making some bad decisions. I had started hanging around with
the wrong crowd, began drinking alcohol, and graduated to marijuana
[continues 395 words]
Those For And Against Ballot Initiative Are Busy Parsing Its Language
TAMPA -On Nov. 4, voters will determine whether Florida becomes the
24th state and the first in the South to approve a comprehensive
medical marijuana program.
After failing to get the state Legislature to place the measure on
the ballot, advocates for medical pot took to the streets, exceeding
the 683,000 petition signatures needed to put the issue to voters
and, if approved, write it into the Florida Constitution.
[continues 1351 words]
By now we've all heard the arguments for and against the legalization
of 'medical' marijuana under Amendment 2. The amount of inaccurate
and confusing information about the legalization of 'medical'
marijuana can overwhelm parents.
Some of the information we hear about cannabis is conflicting, making
it hard to understand the ways it may affect our children. Is it
addictive? Does it cause psychosis? Is it really a medicine? What
will happen if my child uses it? What should I tell - or not tell -
my child about it?
[continues 1195 words]
VANCOUVER - Gamblers flocked into four Vancouver-area casinos over a
recent three-month period hauling bags of $20 bills that added up to
millions of dollars in suspicious transactions, according to
information provided by the provincial Finance Ministry in response to
a freedom of information request from the CBC.
The Edgewater Casino in the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver alone
reported $5,242,090 in unusual transactions from March 20 to June 21.
CBC reported that $2.5 million in suspicious transactions occurred at
New Westminster's Starlight Casino, while $24 million was flagged at
Richmond's River Rock Casino.
[continues 449 words]
Once again, we have the San Diego Unified School District police
sending a negative message ("Drug-sniffing dog has increased presence
on campuses," Oct. 8) to the students of our educational
institutions: A police officer walking the halls of education with a
German shepherd to detect illegal drugs.
What could be more negative?
This sort of nonsense needs to stop. School Police Chief Rueben
Littlejohn is sending a message of fear and intimidation and is not
in touch with an educational atmosphere.c
Anything that helps move the ball down the field toward the goal of
total re-legalization of cannabis will have my vote - and in this
case that means voting no on A and yes on B.
As our previous experiences with drunk waterfowl and exploding stills
clearly taught, our ills will not depart until cannabis prohibition
is six feet under, with a stake through its heart and maybe a couple
of silver bullets for insurance.
The price supports for cannabis provided by the prohibition will
disappear. It will be only as profitable to grow as say almonds,
rice, grapes or walnuts. A bit of regulation would help as well.
[continues 89 words]
Addressing two recent letters, it appears Garry Cooper must have
smoked a few bowls before looking into his crystal ball in predicting
outrageous windfalls Butte County will reap from pot profiteering. What a joke.
Growers predicted the same wealth for Colorado and Washington. Are
they seeing the wealth in taxes pouring in? No. A large percentage of
pot is still being sold on the black market. The only ones making
bank are the growers and dealers.
Just pick up a local newspaper the past four weeks and read about
people from other states/counties coming into California or
neighboring counties to grow, only to be smuggled out of state.
Where's the money? Certainly not in California's pocket.
[continues 145 words]
I just love the thinking of those in charge of deciding where
dispensaries for medical marijuana should be sited. Let's by all
means place them where criminals are more likely to be comfortable
than patients who are disabled and/or in serious pain.
Many of these patients will be frail and older or, in some cases, children.
Let's be realistic: People who want illegal drugs will get them. All
that has happened so far in the latest "war against drugs" is to make
life more difficult for patients who need the relief. The headlines
may look good, but the real story is seldom told.
[continues 102 words]
It's not difficult to understand the recent erosion of support for
Amendment 2, the ballot initiative that would expand the use of
marijuana in Florida by patients suffering from debilitating illnesses.
Indeed, after polling as high as 80 percent among likely voters in
the spring, most polls now have it barely hitting the 60 percent
threshold needed for passage.
Opponents hammer away at loopholes in the amendment language that
they say open the door to abuse - by patients, caregivers and doctors
alike. There is also the underlying fear that that door will usher in
legalization of recreational use.
[continues 515 words]
When it comes to legalizing marijuana in Alaska, what exactly is the
advantage of abandoning the status quo?
The initiative process in Alaska is a playground for Outside
bamboozlers and monied special interests that want, even need, to
dodge the give and take -- the vetting, the debate, the political
free-for-all of the legislative process to get their way.
Despite the progressive malarkey and populist romanticism of having
the people rise up against "The Man," initiatives are, as the late
Washington Post columnist David Broder pointed out, "alien to the
spirit of the Constitution."
[continues 665 words]
Each year in October, the Elks honor the memory of slain DEA Special
Agent Enrique S. Camerena with a Red Ribbon Campaign.
Camerena was kidnapped, tortured and killed because he was
successfully investigating one of the largest drug trafficking
organizations in Mexico.
The Elks Drug Awareness Program has launched a national campaign to
ask our leaders in Washington to uphold our nation's drug laws and to
remind everyone, especially our youth, of the dangers of using any
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of
America has the largest all-volunteer drug awareness program in the country.
[continues 96 words]
Oregonians, listen to Colorado's governor, Democrat John
Hickenlooper, who was in office when voters legalized marijuana by
changing Colorado's constitution in November 2012.
On Oct. 6, Hickenlooper said Coloradans were "reckless" for voting to
become the first state to legalize pot for adult recreational use.
Marijuana becomes more easily available to youth when adults in the
home are users, and doctors and researchers are concerned about
marijuana's effects on youth.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana is
addictive and delays brain development in adolescents.
[continues 169 words]
Regarding 'Don't let the 'Colorado Calamity' invade Florida' (Brad
King, Other Views, Oct. 16): I will not argue the statistics as to how
many dispensaries now operate in Colorado, but because law enforcement
has failed to protect legal businesses is hardly the fault of cannabis
or dispensary ownership. In Colorado, all violent crime is down. DUIs
are down. Death by suicide and pharmaceutical overdose is down. Only
burglary remains steady. Apparently, burglars do not use cannabis.
The suggestion that cannabis in mother's milk is bad is a glaring
example of medical cannabis ignorance. Melanie Dreher, RN, Ph.D, spent
over 30 years in Jamaica studying pregnant moms for the U.S.
government. She found that cannabis greatly relieved or eliminated
morning sickness, with no ill effects to mom or fetus. The children
born to these moms equaled or exceeded in intellect and social skills
[continues 96 words]
Paul Sloan's crusade has him paying for billboards and writing letters
to the editor, hoping there is time to overcome what he sees as a
misguided but effective disinformation campaign.
Big names in law enforcement statewide are deeply involved, and not on
What cause has him so willing to reach into his wallet?
Well, Sloan is a local pain clinic owner who helped lobby for and
crafted clinic regulations. But, the odd thing is, he isn't thrilled
with the drugs prescribed at his business., and he does not mind saying so.
[continues 542 words]