Tampa Bay Times _FL_ 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2018
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21US FL: Editorial: Policing On Pot Needs Fresh LookWed, 01 Oct 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:10/02/2014

A recent analysis of arrests for marijuana possession in at least two Tampa Bay counties revealed a disturbing trend.

Blacks and whites use marijuana at virtually the same rates, but law enforcement is at least six times more likely to arrest a black person for possessing the drug. The disparity raises questions about whether blacks are being unfairly targeted by police and pushed into the criminal justice system in ways that leave permanent scars.

Law enforcement officials should re-examine their approach to policing marijuana possession and ensure that enforcement strategies are evenly applied in all communities.

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22 US FL: PUB LTE: Drug War Has FailedSat, 27 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Gilbert, William Area:Florida Lines:36 Added:09/30/2014

For medical use, marijuana has far fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals. I do not encourage marijuana use. Nor do I encourage alcohol use.

Pharmaceutical drugs kill 38,000 per year. Tobacco kills 480,000 per year. Diabetes kills 69,000 per year. Alcohol kills 88,000 per year and contributes to domestic violence. Marijuana kills zero per year, and in Colorado domestic violence was reduced by 30 percent. One woman died in Colorado from heart complications while high.

Which are the gateway drugs? Marijuana users almost always start with beer and cigarettes.

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23US FL: It's Not Because Of Who Smokes Pot And Who Doesn'tSun, 28 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Nohlgren, Stephen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:09/30/2014

Black People In Pinellas And Hillsborough Are At Least Six Times As Likely To Be Arrested For Marijuana Possession As White People

Federal surveys show that 10 to 12 percent of both races use marijuana at least once a month.

What does differ is how pot marketplaces unfold in various neighborhoods and how police agencies respond.

As a result, a mood-altering substance that many Floridians think should be legal generates criminals in one sector of the community while other people largely skate free.

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24 US FL: PUB LTE: Drug HypocrisySun, 21 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Cecil, Gary Area:Florida Lines:24 Added:09/22/2014

People are lawfully allowed to buy and drink alcoholic beverages and lawfully allowed to buy and smoke cigarettes. Both of these products have no health benefits to speak of, cause fatal diseases and are laying all over the place where children can easily get their hands on them. Now we have the medical marijuana issue coming up for a vote here in Florida and certain groups are going nuts trying to persuade voters to vote it down. So, where is the outrage regarding the legality and consumption of alcohol and cigarettes?

Gary Cecil, Tampa


25 US FL: PUB LTE: Read It For YourselfSun, 14 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Widger, Jonathan L. Area:Florida Lines:34 Added:09/15/2014

Re: Sept. 10, Commentary

The former justices provide virtually no quotations from Amendment 2 to support anything they say. 'Most voters don't have the time or inclination,' they say, 'to read the full text of the actual amendment. We have read the amendment and studied its impact. And we are troubled.'

In fact, Amendment 2 is less than 1,200 words long, takes up only four standard-sized typed pages, and is available online by doing a simple Web search for 'Florida Amendment 2 text.'

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26 US FL: PUB LTE: An Antidote To NonsenseSun, 14 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Woodard, Chris Area:Florida Lines:21 Added:09/15/2014

One of the best reasons to support Amendment 2 is that it would end the criminalization of severe pain patients and begin to show voters that the monsters-under-the-bed stories they've been told all their lives about cannabis are nonsense.

Chris Woodard, Tampa


27 US FL: PUB LTE: Rebuttal To Former JusticesSat, 13 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Goldstein, Karen Area:Florida Lines:59 Added:09/13/2014

The seven former Florida Supreme Court justices who opined on why they believe that voters should reject medical marijuana as outlined in Amendment 2 are misinterpreting some very important information.

First they claim that the amendment is too broadly written. The amendment is a framework. The Department of Health will be writing the regulations that will ultimately flesh out the rules.

They claim to have studied the impact of the amendment. Since this has not yet even been voted on, there has been no impact to study.

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28 US FL: LTE: Heed Dangers Of MarijuanaFri, 05 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Gilbert, Diana Area:Florida Lines:39 Added:09/06/2014

Re: Medical pot not an easy victory, Sept. 4

Adding an amendment to the Constitution, especially one legalizing medical marijuana, should not be done lightly.

According to the California Narcotics Officers Association, "Marijuana is an unstable mixture of over 400 chemicals including toxic psychoactive chemicals which are largely unstudied and appear in uncontrolled strengths." No scientific studies demonstrate that marijuana is safe.

Marijuana has a high potential for abuse, and there is currently strong evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. Mental illnesses such as psychosis, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and suicidal thoughts have been associated with chronic marijuana use.

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29US FL: Medical Pot Not An Easy VictoryThu, 04 Sep 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Nohlgren, Stephen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:09/06/2014

A Poll Shows Many Voters Haven't Made Up Their Minds About Florida's Amendment

Though early polling showed overwhelming support for medical marijuana in Florida, a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/ UF Bob Graham Center poll indicates that many likely voters are still unsure about a constitutional amendment that would allow it.

'It's not the slam dunk that previous polls suggested," said Dr. Christopher McCarty, director of the UF Survey Research Center and director of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research. 'There are still a lot of people who don't know about it, haven't thought about it or haven't made up their minds." Florida's proposed Amendment 2 - which goes to a vote Nov. 4 - would let people use marijuana for debilitating illnesses with a doctor's consent.

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30US FL: They Refuse to WaitSun, 31 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Nohlgren, Stephen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:09/02/2014

Why They Smoke

SEMINOLE - Peggy Alcorn, a 68-year-old retiree, exercises every day in her swimming pool. She hangs onto the edge for an hour-bouncing, swaying,kicking and singing to a mix of 1980 streaming from her computer.Every15minutes or so,she picks up a pipe and takes a few puffs of pot. Alcorn has multiple sclerosis. She says marijuana has eased her symptoms dramatically. And she hopes that -- come Nov.4 -- she will no longer have to worry about breaking the law. On that day,voters will decide whether to amend Florida's Constitution to allow marijuana use for medical purposes.

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31US FL: Pot Not Without RisksFri, 29 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Nohlgren, Stephen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:09/02/2014

Humans have cultivated marijuana for thousands of years - using fiber for cloth, oil for food, smoke for ceremonies and chemicals for medicine.

Scientists know that compounds found in pot can alter physical and mental functions, lending credence to sick people who say marijuana alleviates their symptoms.

But marijuana - especially in its smoked form - carries risk.

Some studies have linked heavy pot use to heart attacks, mental illness and breathing difficulties.

"Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a variety of effects," concluded the Institute of Medicine, a neutral research group charged by Congress to study medical marijuana

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32 US FL: PUB LTE: Police Will Respond To Voters' WillThu, 28 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Chase, John G. Area:Florida Lines:33 Added:08/29/2014

This letter makes the point that law enforcement will enforce antidrug laws to enhance their own self-interests, not necessarily to reduce drug addiction. The opposition of the Florida Sheriff's Association to Amendment 2 is an example, according to the letter.

I agree. But I am also an optimist. I believe that when voters put Amendment 2 into the Florida Constitution, as polls indicate they will, the sheriffs will innovate. They will shift money, around to do more on-foot community policing, for instance, and less pot-busting.

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33 US FL: PUB LTE: Prison Industry InfluenceSat, 23 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Horowitz, Richard C. Area:Florida Lines:45 Added:08/23/2014

I have been trying to understand why the Florida Sheriff's Association has come out against the medical marijuana amendment, which is supported by most of the public.

Objectively, the data are clear. Opiate medications are far more dangerous than marijuana. Therefore, if medical marijuana can substantially reduce dependency on opiates, legalizing it is a no-brainer.

The sheriffs have brains. Therefore their opposition must not be based on the facts. What else can be behind their opposition? I think what they really fear is that passage of the amendment will inevitably lead to a Colorado-type outcome of legalizing recreational marijuana use.

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34US FL: Pot Foes Forge Unlikely FriendshipSat, 16 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Nohlgren, Stephen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/20/2014

Lawyer John Morgan And A Casino Mogul Debate Via Email

Trial lawyer John Morgan - whose outsized persona is already etched onto Florida's consciousness - said medical marijuana has boosted his celebA-rity even higher.

At the Orlando airport last week, eight to 10 people stopped him between the plane and his car to thank him for bankrollA-ing the constitutional amendA-ment to legalize medical marA-ijuana, Morgan said. 'Two or three wanted to have their picA-tures taken with me.' However, none of that hoopla surprised Morgan as much as an email that arrived three months ago from Nevada.

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35 US FL: PUB LTE: Stop The Pot BashingSat, 16 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Demmy, Jim Area:Florida Lines:40 Added:08/20/2014

Re: Medical Use of marijuana requires more research | Aug 14, column

As a pharmacist, I wonder why there is negaA-tivity against marijuana or cannabis to the point where some want to prevent its use medically.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement AdministraA-tion continues to classify marijuana as a SchedA-ule I controlled substance along with cocaine and heroin. This classification means it is very addicting and has no medical use. But recent findings show it has had benefit in some childA-hood seizures.

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36US FL: Big Law Firms Prepare For PotSun, 03 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Harwell, Drew Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/04/2014

Passage of Marijuana Measures Is Bound To Bring A Barrage Of Legal Questions, And A Lot Of Money

TAMPA - For decades, attorney Richard Blau focused his legal savvy on the high-stakes business of booze. Alcohol-industry law was an attorney's dream, full of unresolved questions and deep-pocketed players clawing their way to the top.

So when Florida's talk turned to marijuana, another storied pastime with its own dubious history, Blau's titan of a law firm, GrayRobinson, jumped at the opportunity. Blau now leads a special practice for clients wanting to capitalize on medical cannabis - and bend the laws to their advantage.

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37US FL: Regulators Hear More Medical Pot ComplaintsSat, 02 Aug 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Klas, Mary Ellen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/03/2014

Issues Include Distribution And a Lottery System

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's attempt to draft a medical marijuana rule ran into another buzz-saw of complaints Friday as potential growers lamented being forced to truck their product across the state and investors warned that a lottery to select pot producers will scare away qualified companies.

The comments came at the second workshop held by the state Department of Health to get feedback from marijuana industry hopefuls about a proposed rule allowing for the legal cultivation of low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and high in CBD (cannabidiol) for patients with seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms and cancer.

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38US FL: Poll: Medical Pot Gains GroundTue, 29 Jul 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Nohlgren, Stephen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:07/30/2014

With tolerance for marijuana increasing around the country, a poll released Monday indicates that Florida may not lag far behind.

According to the Quinnipiac University poll, 88 percent of Florida voters now would allow use of marijuana for medical purposes - broad support that cuts across age, gender and political lines. That is up from 82 percent support that Quinnipiac reported in November.

About 55 percent of Floridians would legalize marijuana for recreational use, the poll reported - up 7 percent from November.

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39US FL: OPED: The Children Of The Drug WarsSun, 20 Jul 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Nazario, Sonia Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:07/21/2014

Cristian Omar Reyes, an 11-year-old sixth-grader in the neighborhood of Nueva Suyapa, on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, tells me he has to get out of Honduras soon - "no matter what."

In March, his father was robbed and murdered by gangs while working as a security guard protecting a pastry truck. His mother used the life insurance payout to hire a smuggler to take her to Florida. She promised to send for him quickly, but she has not.

Three people he knows were murdered this year. Four others were gunned down on a nearby corner in the span of two weeks at the beginning of this year. A girl his age resisted being robbed of $5. She was clubbed over the head and dragged off by two men who cut a hole in her throat, stuffed her panties in it, and left her body in a ravine across the street from Cristian's house.

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40US FL: Strain Of Pot Draws BattleMon, 14 Jul 2014
Source:Tampa Bay Times (FL) Author:Klas, Mary Ellen Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:07/15/2014

Five Nurseries Will Be Picked to Grow a Form of Medical Marijuana - The Question is Who.

TALLAHASSEE - The parents of RayAnn Moseley, the Pensacola child with intractable epilepsy whose story softened the hearts of reluctant lawmakers, are fighting a new battle: getting Charlotte's Web to Florida.

The Moseleys have formed a company to apply to be one of the five medical marijuana dispensaries under the new law that allows for the cultivation of marijuana that's low in THC, the chemical that produces pot's intoxicating effect, but high in CBD, the one that calms seizures.

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