Posts Tagged ‘florida cannabis’

Debunking Prohibitionists’ Cannabis Dosed Halloween Candy Fears

cannabis-candyAnti-marijuana group Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings are playing on parents’ fears by spreading the message that pot-infused candy will be handed out to children on Halloween.

“Officials came together today to warn that Florida children who go door to door for candy on Halloween may one day be at risk of receiving edible marijuana products if Amendment 2 comes to pass,” the group said on Monday. “This scary scenario isn’t the plot of an upcoming horror movie. According to medical and law enforcement officials, it’s a very real scenario playing out in states like California, Washington and Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized.”

Except that the horror scenario that Sheriff Demings and Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot claims is ravaging states where marijuana is legalized just isn’t true. There were zero cases cannabis edibles being handed to kids in Colorado or Washington on Halloween in 2014 or 2015. In fact, there have been no reported cases nationally, making the claim more akin to urban legends involving a razor blade hidden in an apple or piece of candy.

Of course, there have been cases around the country of children accidentally ingesting cannabis edibles, although the majority of exposure and ingestion cases are from pharmaceuticals and household products. For example, for every 1,000 emergency room visits for ingestion at Children’s Hospital Colorado from 2014 through 2015, only 6.4 were related to marijuana.

George Sam Wang, M.D., of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, examined the effect of the legalization of recreational marijuana on unintentional pediatric exposures. Data from the study concluded:

  • Colorado saw an average 34 percent increase in regional poison center cases per year compared with a 19 percent increase in the rest of the United States.
  • Sources of marijuana were a parent, grandparent, neighbor, friend, babysitter or other family member.
  • Most pediatric marijuana exposures involved infused edible products; many exposures happened because marijuana products weren’t in child-resistant containers, there was poor child supervision or product storage issues.

Along with Washington, Colorado has served as a testing-ground state for cannabis, defining and revising rules and regulations for a commodity that had never been sold legally before. In an effort to reduce the number children accidentally ingesting marijuana edibles, Colorado did a major regulation overhaul.

Colorado has revised regulations on edible marijuana products to make them look less appealing to kids and less like their non-intoxicating counterparts. As of October 1, edibles in Colorado must come with a diamond-shaped THC stamp, on both the child-resistant packaging and the edible itself. Cannabis-infused gummy bears and other marijuana edibles shaped like animals, fruits or humans are also banned.

Rather than playing on baseless fears, officials and special-interest groups would better serve their communities by working with the cannabis industry on solutions that safely and fairly regulate marijuana.

Medical Marijuana Debate Heats up in Florida

john-morganA proposed amendment that would legalize medical marijuana in Florida has become a central issue in the state this election. With voting only nineteen days away, voters have little time left to consider the issue.

In a heated Tuesday night debate, undecided voters had the opportunity to listen to the pros and cons of Amendment 2. Prominent marijuana advocate John Morgan, who also chairs United for Care, and anti-legalization critic and policy director for No on 2, Dr. Jessica Spencer, went head-to-head.

Much of the debate centered around whether the amendment would be a danger to communities and kids or help people with debilitating medical conditions.

“They’re not going to have gummy bears hanging on a rack next to a school with marijuana in it. It’s preposterous,” said Morgan. He believes that anti-marijuana advocates are using scare tactics rather than fact to strengthen their position.

“The zoning out for the dispensaries will be determined by the cities. What the edibles can be packaged in will be determined by the state,” Morgan added.

“This is de facto legalization of marijuana, simply by the way they wrote it,” Spencer retorted. “If you didn’t want them near schools, and you wanted to protect our communities, you should’ve written it in there. That language actually allows for any of the symptomology associated with those conditions to qualify someone for marijuana.”

Spencer maintains that there are no proven medical benefits to cannabis use. “There’s no conclusive evidence that marijuana as an entire plant works as medicine.”

If Amendment 2 passes in Florida, it will allow patients access to medical marijuana for certain medical conditions as determined by a qualified physician. The Florida Department of Health would regulate dispensaries and issue ID cards to patients and caregivers. The list of illnesses eligible for treatment with cannabis would include glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Amendment 2 requires 60 percent of voters’ support to pass. It failed with 57 percent in 2014.

Cannabis Buyer’s Remorse? Not in Colorado!

Four years after voters approved Amendment 64, do Coloradans regret legalizing cannabis? Not according to a new poll that shows the majority of voters in the state, 51 percent, would oppose repealing the amendment if it were to appear on the ballot.

When asked about Amendment 64’s impact on Colorado, 47 percent said legal cannabis has been good for the state while 39 percent said it’s been bad, 9 percent said it’s had no real impact and 6 percent weren’t sure.

Marijuana’s impact on the state’s economy reported higher levels of approval: 61 percent said the impact has been positive — and 19 percent said it’s been negative, 14 percent said there has been no impact and 6 percent weren’t sure.

The poll was commissioned by the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project and conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

Since legalization, Colorado has seen a drop in violent crime, increased tax revenue going to schools, new jobs, and a booming economy.

Despite how Coloradoans feel about legal cannabis, anti-marijuana groups and politicians who want to maintain prohibition see marijuana as some kind of doomsday catalyst. In March 2015, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called tax revenue generated from the sale of recreational marijuana “blood money.”

In an interview last year, presidential candidate, Donald Trump, said, “I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about it. They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.”

Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project spokesman and co-director of Colorado’s Yes on Amendment 64 campaign, is used to anti-cannabis rhetoric. “There are a lot of folks trying to make it seem like the sky is falling in Colorado or that voters regret their decision, but this is yet another poll showing that they still support it,”Tvert told the Cannabist.

“It’s easy for opponents of legalization to put words into the mouths of Colorado voters,” Tvert said, “but these results actually let voters speak for themselves, and voters by and large would not want to go back to prohibition.”

Florida: The Second Largest Medical Marijuana Market?

floridaOn November 8th, Floridians will once again vote on a proposed medical marijuana amendment. Amendment 2 would broaden medical marijuana access and expand the number of debilitating conditions eligible for treatment.

A vote in 2014 barely defeated a similar medical marijuana amendment. The measure received about 57% of the vote; 60% support is required to pass a ballot measure in Florida.

Florida has existing legislation that allows compassionate use of cannabis. Cancer, seizures, and people living with epilepsy have access to CDB-only products. Terminally ill patients who have less than one year to live are eligible to use cannabis with THC. However, access to cannabis requires a patient to have a relationship with a prescribing physician for 90-days, especially difficult for patients with a short time left to live.

If Amendment 2 passes, the list of illnesses eligible for treatment with marijuana would include glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

United for Care, supporters of Amendment 2, received a $1 million donation last week from New Approach, an organization that’s donated big money to other supporters of medical marijuana initiatives.

Ben Pollara, the campaign manager of United for Care, said, “We are obviously very pleased to receive such a generous donation. It’s going to be put to good use very quickly, making sure that our message is on television across the state and that Floridians understand this is about putting medical decisions back in the hands of doctors and patients and out of the hands of politicians.”

“According to a September survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute in Saint Leo, Florida, 68.8% of likely voters supported Amendment 2, as the medical cannabis measure is known, up from 65.1% in June.”

If Amendment 2 passes, Florida could become the second largest medical marijuana market in the country, behind California.

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