Marijuana Initiative Popular with Florida Seniors
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Marijuana Initiative Popular with Florida Seniors
Posted by CN Staff on July 06, 2014 at 04:14:14 PT
By Britt Kennerly, Florida Today
Source: Florida Today
Florida -- As a teenager and later, as a wife and mom, Mary Greene never considered trying marijuana for any purpose.That was before she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 10 years ago. Now 57 and a grandmother, she lives in constant pain but doesn’t want to be heavily medicated, she said.Pat Suit, who’s in her 70s and a former cigarette smoker, recalls telling her children she knew what was inside what she was inhaling but that they didn’t know what was inside a joint.
All these years later, and after “more education,” she and her husband “are both in favor of medical marijuana and will be voting for it,” Suit said. “I don’t believe anyone should suffer when there is help at hand.”The women are among the Space Coast’s boomer-and-older residents who say they will vote yes this November on the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative. Widely known as Amendment 2, it would legalize the medical use of marijuana in the Sunshine State. To be added to the state constitution, the amendment needs to be approved by 60 percent of voters.Greene and Suit have company in the graying group who say they’ll vote yes. For some, it’s because they used marijuana recreationally as young people and saw no ill effects as they’ve aged. Others support any kind of legal relief for themselves or a loved one with a terminal illness or in serious, long-term pain.A Quinnipiac University poll this spring charted support in those older than 65 at a whopping 84 percent and 88 percent among all voters. While support of recreational usage drops dramatically in that older age group, in that same poll, among voters 50 to 64 years old, 62 percent admitted smoking pot, more than any other demographic.Melbourne Beach native Joan Crutcher, 60, remembers being told as a teen that marijuana was a “horrid gateway drug” and that using it would lead her to heroin.It didn’t, said Crutcher, a graphic designer who’s now a grandmother. And now, she’s adamant that “for palliative effects and health benefits that cover a long list of ailments, medical marijuana at the very least needs to be legalized in Florida.”“What we’re hearing from older voters is not a lot different from the electorate as a whole,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United For Care, the initiative that landed the issue on the ballot. United For Care is funded heavily by Orlando attorney John Morgan, who supports Charlie Crist, the likely Democrat gubernatorial candidate. Crist is employed by Morgan’s law firm.“For the most part, it’s not a controversial topic. ... If their doctor recommends a particular treatment plan, whether it’s a medication regimen, a new diet, exercise, yoga or medical marijuana,” Pollara said, “they should be able to follow their doctor’s orders without being treated like a criminal.”But those against legalizing medical marijuana are equally firm in their stance.The Florida Sheriffs Association, including Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey, and the Florida Medical Association oppose Amendment 2, as do many Republican leaders, including Gov. Rick Scott.John Anderson, 87, former chairman of the Brevard GOP, is a retired nurse anesthetist.“I can say that from my experience and my background in health care, whenever you mix politics and health care, it’s a disaster,” said Anderson, a Cocoa Beach resident.“The people who are talking have no idea about the pharmacology or the pharmaceutical-therapeutic dynamics of any drug, whether it’s aspirin or some fancy beta blocker. They’re just talking based on what they heard somebody say. ... There are many people who think marijuana relieves pain. Marijuana is not an analgesic. You get more pain relief from an aspirin than marijuana, if you’re talking about it in that sense.”Greene worked for years as a technician at a dialysis center but had to quit because she could no longer lift patients, she said.“My insurance right now doesn’t pay for the medicine that’s best for me to use,” she said. “So I’m on a very old-style regimen and live in constant pain. I tell my husband, it’s just a matter of degree. Some days I can function and other days, I don’t. I stay in bed.”She wants relief but worries about what she’s putting into her body, particularly some of the newer medications.When the rheumatoid arthritis struck, the first medication she injected herself with twice a week made her so nauseated, she “couldn’t do a thing.”“You don’t know what the long-term effects are, so you don’t know what it’s doing to the inside of your body,” she said.“But that’s OK, because it’s coming from a pharmaceutical company? No.”Tripp Spring, 63, of Melbourne Beach is vice president of the nonprofit Florida Cannabis Action Network, which recently joined the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce.One of FCAN’s concerns, he said, is possible confusion over “Charlotte’s Web,” a low-potency strain of marijuana said to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy. Scott recently signed a bill legalizing use of that strain but still opposes the amendment legalizing medical marijuana.“We were at the forefront in getting that done,” Spring said. “We wanted to help people right away. But now, one of our fears is that people will think, ‘OK, it’s done,’ and won’t vote. It’s not done.”The Brevard County Medical Society recently unanimously passed a resolution opposing Amendment 2, said Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, BCMS president and a voice in the Sheriffs Association’s “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” initiative.“I would never prescribe pot to one of my patients, nor have I ever heard one of my colleagues say they would prescribe it,” Haridopolos said. “Besides, there is an FDA-approved medication called Marinol that can help cancer and AIDS patients with their appetite and nausea, and there are other meds that can be used for chronic pain.”Such input doesn’t change the mind of 65-year-old Angie Wilt of Canaveral Groves, a former United Space Alliance employee.In 2009, her husband, Stan, now 80, had a massive stroke that affected his right side and, she said, left his cognitive function “mostly gone.”There is “absolutely no reason” marijuana should be withheld from those who, as determined by medical professionals, would benefit from its use, Wilt said.At times, her husband asks what his medicine is for, Wilt said.“Other times he will say, ‘Can I have something for pain? My shoulder hurts, my back hurts,’ etc.,” she said. “It would be so nice to have the option of giving him medical marijuana on an as-needed basis, instead of the narcotic pain meds he takes.”Haridopolos, though, thinks when people hear medical marijuana can help people with “debilitating diseases,” they are “swayed into saying they support the amendment.”“However, when people come to understand the loopholes and the clause in the amendment that states pot can be obtained for ‘other conditions,’ which could mean back pain, problems sleeping or trouble eating, support drops dramatically,” she said.But Mary Greene has done her homework, she said. She’s read the amendment closely and made her decision.Speaking out about her stance has gotten Greene raked over the coals at a couple of meetings, even by people with whom she usually agrees. She is not deterred.“I think that if it’s an important issue, you should take a stand one way or another,” Greene said.“And you should be willing to stand behind it so long as you educate yourself, so that you can give an informed response — not just ‘because.’ ”Source: Florida Today (FL)Author: Britt Kennerly, Florida TodayPublished: July 5, 2014Copyright: 2014 Florida TodayWebsite: bkennerly floridatoday.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on July 25, 2014 at 17:48:31 PT
Had Enough
I want so much for Florida to win. Keep on fighting. Hopefully Crist will get elected and Scott will be out and that would make the transition in of MMJ work easier if it passes and it seems to be looking good from what my nephew says.
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Comment #6 posted by Had Enough on July 25, 2014 at 13:38:57 PT
The Semblers...Dare...Strait...Save Our Society...
Betty S. Sembler has dedicated the past three decades to fighting the war on drugs. In 1976, she was one of ten founding members of Straight, Inc., a nonprofit drug treatment program that successfully treated more than 12,000 young people with drug addiction in eight cities nationally from Dallas to Boston.Mrs. Sembler then turned her sights to establishing a national drug policy to reinforce the four critical fronts to combat drug abuse: education, treatment, interdiction and law enforcement. She has helped form public policy in the United States' campaign against drugs through her participation in the White House Conference for a Drug Free America, as a member of the Governor's Drug Policy Task Force in Florida, and as a board member of DARE Florida (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), a national organization that provides drug resistance education for elementary and middle school students. Mrs. Sembler also serves on the board of DARE International as vice-chairperson.Mrs. Sembler has continued her campaign against liberal drug policies and legalization of mind-altering substances on an international basis. She accompanied her husband, Mel, on both of his missions to Australia and Italy as United States Ambassador and presently resides in Saint Petersburg, Florida.Mrs. Sembler is the founder and Board Chair of Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.) and the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. Both organizations work to educate people about attempts to legalize as “medicine” unsafe, ineffective and unapproved drugs such as marijuana, heroin, PCP and crack as well as to reduce illegal drug use, drug addiction and drug-related illnesses and death.Mrs. Sembler serves on the boards of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Operation PAR (Pinellas County, FL), Florida Holocaust Museum, Florida Governor's Mansion Foundation, Florida National Guard Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Training Advisory Board, the Jewish Policy Center and St. Petersburg’s Menorah Manor.On March 6, 2008 the DEA Museum Foundation presented its Lifetime achievement award to Mrs. Betty Sembler for her thirty years of leadership and commitment to fighting drugs. The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Foundation and recognizes long and sustained commitments to drug law enforcement, drug abuse treatment and drug abuse education. Mrs. Sembler was previously awarded honorary agent status by the DEA - only the second such designation to ever be given.In the year 2000, the Girl Scouts of Sun Coast Council presented Mrs. Sembler with a "Women of Distinction" award. The Jewish National Foundation awarded her the "Tree of Life Award" for her outstanding commitment to the community. In 1996, The Houston Drug Free Business Initiative recognized her for exemplary efforts in drug prevention.In 2009, she was inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame by then Governor Charlie Crist.The National Narcortic Officers' Association Coalition "J. Dennis Hastert Lifetime Achievement Award" was awarded to Mrs. Sembler in 2010. It is NNOAC's highest award and Mrs. Sembler is one of only six individuals to have received the award in the history of the NNOAC. The NNOAC represents 68,000 narcotic officers across the nation.
The Honorable Mel SemblerMel Sembler, Chairman of the Board of The Sembler Company, served as United States Ambassador to Italy from 2001 to 2005 and as Ambassador to Australia and Nauru from 1989 to 1993.As the President's personal representative, he actively promoted United States' interests abroad during his two terms of service. At the recommendation of the Governor-General of Australia and with the approval of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Sembler was named an Honorary Officer in the Order of Australia at an investiture ceremony in October 2000. The Order of Australia is an Australian society of honor for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and is rarely given to foreigners.
As a developer, Sembler is responsible for building The Sembler Company into one of the nation's most recognized shopping center developers. The Sembler Company is identified as an innovative leader in the industry, and Sembler-built centers are known for their creative design and environmental integrity.In 1986-1987, Sembler served as the international leader and spokesman for the shopping center industry as President of the 40,000-member International Council of Shopping Centers, a position that capped 25 years of active service to this worldwide trade association.Sembler's work as a civic and political activist is equally noteworthy. A supporter of George H.W. Bush since 1979, Sembler played a leadership role in raising funds for the Bush for President campaign. He was Finance Co-Chairman of The American Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural, raising the dollars needed for the nation's 41st inauguration of the President of the United States.Although best known as a leading shopping center developer, Sembler is also renowned for his activism in the anti-drug movement. In 1976, Sembler and his wife Betty co-founded STRAIGHT, an adolescent drug treatment program. During its 17 years of existence, STRAIGHT successfully graduated more than 12,000 young people nationwide from its remarkable program. He is nationally recognized as an activist in the anti-drug campaign and as a staunch, long-time supporter of the Republican Party and its candidates.Sembler served as Finance Chairman for the Republican National Committee from 1997 to 2000. He also served as Florida's National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee after his election in 1994 until 2000. Sembler is on the Board of Directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition and has served on the boards of the Drug Free America Foundation, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Florida Governor's Mansion Foundation, and the Florida Holocaust Museum, and is a member of the Florida Council of 100, a business advisory group to the Governor of Florida. He also serves on the boards of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and the American Australian Education Leadership Foundation.Born in 1930 in St. Joseph, Missouri, Sembler is a 1952 graduate of Northwestern University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He and his wife Betty have three sons, Steve, Brent, and Greg, and are the proud grandparents of eleven grandchildren.Click to see...
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Comment #5 posted by Had Enough on July 25, 2014 at 13:28:21 PT
Calvina & the Semblers
Thrashing sounds of an almost extinct breed...1. Founding MembersBetty S. Sembler has dedicated the past three decades to fighting the war on drugs. In 1976, she was one of ten founding members of Straight, Inc., a nonprofit drug treatment program...
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Comment #4 posted by Had Enough on July 25, 2014 at 13:24:04 PT
Calvina Fay & Co
They are still at it…’t-let-florida-go-to-pot-officially-launches
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Comment #3 posted by observer on July 06, 2014 at 19:51:12 PT
Ignore Arrests, Jail, Prison: Focus on Loopholes 
re: 'However, when people come to understand the loopholes and the clause in the amendment that states pot can be obtained for "other conditions," which could mean back pain, problems sleeping or trouble eating, support drops dramatically,' she said."Ah right: people are then more in favor of jailing people for pot. Er, wait a second ... the article never mentions arrest, jail, and/or prison for using medical pot - i.e. the whole point of the "marijuana initiative"? They don't mention the whole point of this "marijuana initiative" - but instead harp on perceived flaws and loopholes? How do these pot prohibition pharisees miss the beam poking out of their their own eye (in the form of iron bars of jail and prison for pot), whilst concentrating so studiously on the gnat in their brother's eye (a "loophole" allowing people to use medical cannabis for eating disorders and migraines)?  On top of that, prohibition pharisees minimize and dismiss the arrest, prison, and jail parts (the whole point of this initiative). "Nobody goes to federal prison for pot possession!" pot prohibition pharisees prevaricate and weasel.Of course, that's just more desperate fall-back propaganda from the pot prohibition profiteers and pharisees. If nobody is arrested or goes to jail for pot now, what's all the big deal, then? Pot arrests and pot prohibition are the lifeblood of the drug war. If the police state can't prey on you (steal your property and enslave you in a forced-work prison) because of pot, the rest of their fascist drug war doesn't amount to a hill of beans. That's why prosecutor, police union, prison guard union, and private prison profiteers (not to mention the pharmaceutical industry) all sing in unison: "No, no: never can pot be legalized!" Keeping pot illegal is the police state's gravy train.
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Comment #2 posted by observer on July 06, 2014 at 15:30:44 PT
Stamping out Sinners, for the Lord
re: "Imagine that: a plant that is illegal because it makes you feel good."Sounds absurd until you realize, that's exactly what some people have in mind. Your "feel good" is sin (even if they can't quite locate that "sin" in their Bibles). When prohibitionists can't stamp out other people's "sin", religio- prohibitionists will most happily (and profitably) stamp out as many sinners as can be. 
... there was a great deal of overlap between those participating in various prohibitionist movements. All of these persons and groups shared an anti-hedonistic ethic which provided a united front politically in their efforts to legally prohibit all pleasure-producing chemicals as well as other pleasurable nonchemical pastimes of humans, i.e., dancing, jazz music, gambling, etc.
White, W.L. (1979).
Themes in Chemical Prohibition. in Drugs in Perspective (pp. 117-182). Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Drug Abuse Center.
 That's the "Baptists" end of the phenomenon.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on July 06, 2014 at 14:39:33 PT
Marijuana Initiative Popular with Florida Seniors
Older citizens should be the 1st people to support Re-legalizing the medical use of the God-given plant cannabis.Seniors are already ingesting so many Pharm substances which have side effects up the ying yang; cannabis is not only relatively safe, one of it's side effects that the IGNOIDS don't like is that it MAKES A PERSON FEEL GOOD.Imagine that: a plant that is illegal because it makes you feel good.
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