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Fla. NAACP pushing for medical pot

McKeeFla. NAACP pushing for medical pot

By Clarence V. McKee

Surprise, Surprise.

The Florida NAACP has endorsed a November ballot initiative, “Amendment 2” that would legalize so-called “medical marijuana.”

Well, not really a big surprise.

The National NAACP and affiliates in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and California have supported decriminalization or outright legalization of marijuana for recreational or medical use. Although not mentioned by the Florida NAACP as a basis for their support of the amendment, those above and many others cite the disproportionate marijuana arrest rates of Blacks as a main reason for supporting legalization.

To them, it is a civil rights issue.

This is a silly argument and compares apples to oranges.

If the NAACP believes that the problem of disproportionate marijuana arrests is solved by legalization, would they agree that any disproportionate arrests of Black males for domestic violence or other crimes should require criminalization of those offenses?

No way. In a July statement on this issue, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said, “We agree that the criminal justice system is in need of reform and that dis-proportionally exists throughout the system.

However, marijuana legalization is not the silver bullet solution to the issue.”

It went on to state that the Obama Administration “continues to oppose legalization of marijuana” and “promotes expanded access to treatment, evidence-based prevention efforts, and alternatives to incarceration.”

If they really wanted to attack disproportionally, the NAACP, in Florida and elsewhere, would adopt a similar strategy including advocating programs that will not taint young Black males with criminal records that impair employment prospects.

But no, they would rather take the silver bullet easy way out and just say make it legal.

In Florida, the NAACP is supporting a very flawed and misleading constitutional amendment. It and amendment sponsors are perpetrating a cruel hoax on the public and especially those who have real and serious debilitating medical problems. They are using emotion, compassion and deception as shields to hide the flaws and loopholes in a dangerous proposal.

For example, the NAACP press release states that “medical decisions should be made by doctors and their patients, not by politicians.” Really?

So why was there no mention of the fact that the Florida Medical Association, representing over 20,000 doctors opposes the amendment?

The answer: For the same reason that the NAACP and its bedfellows do not want the public to know that seven former members of the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and major Florida law enforcement officials oppose the amendment. It is full of dangerous loopholes and uses human suffering as a gateway to full legalization for recreational use.

Florida Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, a breast cancer survivor, got it right. Saying that the amendment was “written too broadly” and that “lax oversight and ease of access . . . can lead to abuse, fraud, and accidents,” she concluded that, “I do not believe we should make it easier for those seeking to abuse the drug to have easy access to it.”

So what are the devils in the details of this Trojan horse that have prompted such bi-partisan opposition? To name a few:

Allowing so-called “caregivers” with no required medical training, expertise or background checks to dispense medical pot — as long as they are at 21;

Placing no restrictions on the location of so-called “medical marijuana treatment centers” — pot shops — which can be near stores, restaurants and schools.

Imposing NO age limit on users which allows teens to get marijuana without parental consent; and,

Allowing high potency marijuana to be put into food such as brownies and snacks which can be accidently ingested by children.

The Florida Department of Health estimates that this amendment will result in over 250,000 caregivers and nearly 1800 pot shops in the state. It is also dangerous for children.

As the White House Drug Control Policy Office has stated:

Marijuana is addictive; its use affects the developing brain; it is associated with cognitive impairment; and, Substance abuse in school age children has a detrimental effect on their academic achievement.

If the NAACP really wanted to help those with debilitating diseases, it would urge proponents to come back with a proposal that really would help the sick and not open the floodgates for legalizing recreational use under the guise of compassion.

In the name of disclosure, readers should know that the writer’s company has been a consultant to Florida’s “Vote No On 2 Campaign”, and should take that into consideration as they digest these comments.

That said, also in the name of disclosure, it would be interesting to know why, all of a sudden, days before the election, the Florida NAACP has become such an advocate for this amendment which has been a subject of debate for over a year.

When did they get the call?

Is pushing pot as a new civil right the message the NAACP wants to send to its youth councils, college chapters, and the Black community?

The answer apparently, “Yes.” How sad.

 

Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee

 

 

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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