Police Chief Orlando Martinez De Castro Said Mayor Philip Stoddard
Doesn't Understand The Rules For The Money, Which Comes From Seizing
The Assets Of Alleged Criminals.
South Miami's mayor is accusing the police chief of using money meant
for crime-prevention to pay for an awards dinner. But the chief says
he followed the law just as he has been doing during his long career
in law enforcement.
Every month, around 100 guests, sometimes more - mostly police brass
from different departments in Miami-Dade County - meet to recognize
an officer of the month. The departments take turns covering the
costs. Some dinners have been known to cost about $4,000, and some
have been held at places like the Rusty Pelican in Virginia Key.
[continues 749 words]
Mass Incarceration Has Gone Too Far and Helped Little, Critics Say
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Stephanie George and Judge Roger Vinson had quite
different opinions about the lockbox seized by police from her home
in Pensacola, Fla. She insisted she had no idea that a former
boyfriend had hidden it in her attic. Vinson considered the lockbox,
containing a half-kilogram of cocaine, to be evidence of her guilt.
But the defendant and the judge fully agreed about the fairness of
the sentence he imposed in federal court.
[continues 1812 words]
Mothers On Oxycodone Give Birth To Drug-Dependent Babies; 'It's
SARASOTA, Fla.: Hospitals around the country are confronting an
unsettling consequence of the prescription-pain-pill epidemic: a surge
in the number of babies born dependent on drugs such as oxycodone.
One recent morning a 12-day-old girl lay writhing in the neonatal
intensive-care unit at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Erin Weatherwax, a
nurse, tried to console the newborn by holding her against her chest
and patting the baby's back. She placed the girl in a motorized swing
that made cricket sounds. But the infant continued to squirm, unable
to sleep more than a few minutes at a time.
[continues 1019 words]
Marijuana prohibition is the most wasteful, destructive social policy
since the Jim Crow laws of the Deep South. I don't know what it will
take to reach the tipping point toward legal cannabis, but data is
accumulating that may help.
Researchers at universities in Colorado, Oregon and Montana have
studied the 17 states that enacted medical marijuana laws between 1990
and 2010. They found that the law was accompanied by significant
decreases in traffic fatalities, with strong indications connecting
this to decreases in alcohol consumption.
These researchers also plan to look at crime rates. Does anyone
believe legal cannabis will be found to be associated with more
domestic violence, barroom fights, turf battles and murders? Not I.
John G. Chase, Palm Harbor
If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize violent drug
cartels, prohibition is a success. The drug war distorts supply and
demand so that big money grows on little trees.
If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to deter use, prohibition is
a failure. The United States has double the rate of marijuana use as
the Netherlands, where marijuana is legal. The criminalization of
Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis has no basis in science.
It's time to stop the arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.
Robert Sharpe, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington
When enough states legalize marijuana, the federal government will
probably do the same. This will lead to many more people using it
because they didn't want to break the law.
I predict that after federal law allows the recreational use of
marijuana, the drug activists will begin campaigning for the
legalization of cocaine. The arguments for legal marijuana will also
apply to cocaine.
It seems that America is heading down the path of moral degradation.
William Armstrong, St. Petersburg
I am 71, and I've had three puffs of a marijuana cigarette in my
entire life. This occurred about two years ago - not in Florida - and
I ended up coughing and hacking so badly that I didn't enjoy the
experience at all. I'll never try it again.
Nevertheless, after having long opposed the introduction of
additional intoxicants into our social fabric - after all, I was
Dunedin's city attorney for nearly four decades - I've come to the
conclusion that the legalization of marijuana and its sale at the
local convenience store is in the best interests of my country.
[continues 906 words]
FSU SSDP, NORML continue to advocate, educate on drug reform and
Don't invest in the stock of Goldfish and Cheetos just yet. At least
that's what Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is suggesting to citizens
in his state.
The caution came after Colorado and Washington became the first and
second states in the U.S. to legalize recreational use of marijuana
for adults over the age of 21 on Tuesday, Nov. 6, while Massachusetts
became the 18th state in the U.S. to legalize the use of marijuana for
[continues 694 words]
While Tuesday's presidential election gained the expected national media
buzz for most of the evening, a lesser-known but substantive victory
took place in the Midwest: Colorado became the first state to legalize
cannabis for recreational use. After failing in 2006, a remodeled
Amendment 64 found success and will pave the way for a new system that
allows for the taxation and regulation of marijuana similar to alcohol.
When compared even with Amsterdam's marijuana regulation, Amendment 64
truly is groundbreaking on an international scale.
[continues 596 words]
Though both Colorado and Washington passed legislation Tuesday to
legalize recreational use of marijuana, the battle to decriminalize
the drug's use has not ended. Many Colorado citizens cheered as
official results were announced, but their merriment will be
short-lived, as the federal ban on the substance has not changed.
Though the legislation is not the end of the war against marijuana,
the continued effort to change state laws is still a step in the right
direction for those in favor of decriminalization.
[continues 348 words]
At the recent Drug Summit of the Treasure Coast, the panel on
understanding the scope of drug addiction was posed a question about
legalization of marijuana. It appeared that the panelists were united
in opposing that idea, some with great enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, along our beaches, packages of marijuana were washing
ashore. It's happened before. It will happen again.
Supporting the continuation of prohibition is supporting a market
where allegedly dangerous drugs are being handled in an unreliable,
untraceable distribution system that runs the risk of having children
stumble upon unknown substances, be it marijuana, cocaine or
pharmaceuticals. This is a dangerous and irresponsible policy.
Law-abiding adults should have the responsibility of production,
manufacture and distribution to make it easier to keep our children safe.
Drug Free Collier
Thank goodness for the Drug Free Collier organization.
The team of law-enforcement, counseling and education officials
monitor substance abuse trends in the community and take action. That
includes advising the public on what may be going on under the radar
and sponsoring events such as Operation Medicine Cabinet to get old,
excess prescription drugs out of reach.
The organization's latest alert deals with synthetic drugs, such as
bath salts and fake marijuana.
Their chemical makeup is not illegal, yet people who buy them at
convenience stores seeking a cheap high can hurt themselves.
[continues 168 words]
They've been billed as the "ultimate odd couple" and it's easy to see why.
Bob Stutman is a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent, while
Steve Hager is the former editor of High Times magazine. Stutman and
Hager spoke Monday before a crowd of more than 640 at University
Auditorium in an event billed as "The Great Weed Debate: Heads vs. Feds."
They disagreed over most issues in a debate over marijuana
legalization, but found common ground on the idea that locking up
drug users makes little sense.
[continues 318 words]
Palm Coast is forging ahead with an ordinance to prohibit the sale of
synthetic marijuana masquerading as herbal incense and is also taking
a bead on chemically tainted bath salts.
City Manager Jim Landon said that the city's research showed that
other communities had banned bath salts as well as synthetic
marijuana. Both products circumvent existing laws against illicit
drugs but contain hazardous chemicals.
"I have been told from our local law enforcement in our schools that
(bath salts) are not a problem here yet," Landon said in a phone
interview on Friday. "But because they are very similar in their
effects and there's nothing prohibiting them from being sold for these
inappropriate uses for young people, we chose to add that as a
proposal to address both items in one ordinance."
[continues 663 words]
From notorious smuggler to ex-con to author and lecturer, Robert
Platshorn has assumed several personas over his 69 years.
But now the West Palm Beach man's latest incarnation - pitchman for
pot use by seniors - has drawn unwelcome attention from the
government, which, he says, is singling him out because of his advocacy.
"They want to stop me from advocating and would like me to be poor
and quiet," the parolee said. "They want to put the Tuna back in the can."
[continues 755 words]
Concerning your Aug. 18 editorial, "Voter ID law stops fraud:"
Yes, in the absolute, the voter ID law will stop fraud. But that
should not be the issue. The issue should be how much and at what
cost. Every change in any law or regulation has societal benefits and
societal costs. The best example is our anti-drug law. Worthwhile
goals to "stop voter fraud" or "stop drug abuse" are often pretexts
to hold down a segment of the citizenry thought to engage in such
activity. Other legislation recently enacted by Florida - and knocked
down by the federal court - weakens my confidence that the voter ID
law is not just pretext to hold down citizens who mostly vote Democrat.
Judging from what Uruguay's President Jose Mujica told me in an
extended interview last week, there is a real possibility that people
in his country will soon be able to buy marijuana legally from a
state-regulated company that will be in charge of marketing and
selling the drug.
Mujica, 78, earlier this month submitted a bill to congress that may
be the boldest marijuana legalization proposal anywhere in the world.
It calls for the state to "take over the control and regulation of
activities related to the importation, production, acquisition,
storage, marketing and distribution of marijuana."
[continues 691 words]
PALM COAST -- Palm Coast officials are working on an ordinance to ban
the sale of "herbal incense" by targeting its effect rather than the
ever-changing chemical brew chemists cook up to stay ahead of the law
when producing synthetic marijuana.
The draft ordinance would ban products that mimic the effects of a
controlled substance that could be easily placed into pipes,
cigarette papers and other paraphernalia for smoking or inhaling.
The makers of synthetic marijuana have been able to continue selling
it as herbal incense because state laws target chemical compounds.
Chemists spray chemicals similar to the THC in marijuana onto blends
of leaves and roots, which are then sold as herbal incense. Chemists
merely alter the compounds enough to escape the law.
[continues 866 words]
I want to thank the Drug Enforcement Administration for making it
utterly impossible for any pharmacy or pain-management clinic to fill
valid scripts anymore. Not a pharmacy in Broward County can supply
those of us who legitimately require pain relief in order to function.
The feds have terrorized clinics, pharmacies, their distributors and
Do they think that everyone in South Florida is having a good time
with oxycodone or any other opioids? I'm not. In fact, thanks to
their overzealousness, I've been unable to work or, for the most
part, even leave the house for two weeks, with no end in sight. I'm
weak as a kitten and have little appetite, lost about 15 pounds and
had little help from the medical community because it is terrified,
too. I have scripts, but no one can fill them.
[continues 80 words]
Already shaken by a series of high-level defections, accounts of
abuse among its staffers, and the high-profile breakup of Tom Cruise
and Katie Holmes, the Church of Scientology now faces scrutiny over
its controversial drug treatment program, Narconon.
Four deaths at Narconon's signature treatment facility in eastern
Oklahoma have prompted local law enforcement and health officials to
investigate the center and its program.
The inquiry began after Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, was found dead in her
room on July 19 after returning to the facility from a one-day leave.
The cause of death is under investigation.
[continues 1153 words]