Florida's sheriffs lobby against medical marijuana amendment

June 11, 2014 

TALLAHASSEE -- Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is one of several of the state's sheriffs who traveled to Tallahassee Tuesday to lobby against legalization of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana is being billed as an all-natural miracle drug that could help thousands of Floridians suffering from chronic illnesses, but critics warn the amendment could open the door to pot use by practically anyone.

The Florida Sheriffs Association is the latest group to join the coalition of critics known as "Don't Let Florida Go To Pot." Judd is the president of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

Judd said that if people can legally get high, the crime rate will climb higher too.

"I see the guy that's up all night with a baby that's screaming, so he smokes him a blunt and a half and he thinks that'll help and ends up bouncing the baby off the walls," he said. "I see the deputy that has to take the gun from the guy who is passed out as a result of having marijuana and other drugs in his or her possession."

The effect of marijuana can be every bit as impairing as alcohol use, and yet rarely will you find a label warning against doing things like driving a car while high.

And in Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized across the board, traffic accidents are skyrocketing. The state is even out with a new ad campaign aimed at getting pot users to sober up before they get behind the wheel.

However, the amendment's biggest backer, attorney John Morgan, said it would be a different story in Florida, with tight controls over who could get a medical marijuana prescription.

"The closer we get to the end, the more we start looking for peace, and we get to parts of life where we're looking for peace," he said.

Amendment 2 spells out a list of chronic illnesses patients would have to be suffering from in order to get a medical marijuana prescription. That list includes cancer, Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease.

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