The short answer: yes.
In the “Financial Impact Estimating Conference” report concerning Amendment 2, the Department of Health estimates that in addition to the 1,993 pot shops that will open across Florida, Amendment 2 will result in licensing an additional 130,844 individuals as “caregivers.”
So, what are “caregivers”? Caregivers means “…a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years old who has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana….” The report goes on to analyze what “caregiver” means in other states that have medical pot laws and found that “caregivers are generally allowed to purchase or grow marijuana….”
In fact more than half of all states with similar laws allow “caregivers” to grow pot and distribute THC products to multiple people. There is another term for someone who grows, processes and distributes addictive products: drug pusher.
This raises serious questions:
- Who will oversee the THC levels in pot or extracts provided by these 100,000 independent THC distributors?
- What other food, let alone addictive drug, can be legally produced by tens of thousands of people and then distributed widely?
- Do we really want to have more than 100,000 people distributing addictive THC-based products all around the state? How would that look in our neighborhood or on our block? For many people, it will mean having a THC distributor right down the street.
Lets do the math to see how common it will be to have a THC-distributor down the street from us. Florida contains 65,755 square miles, more than 80% of which is rural. Because Florida’s population is predominantly found in non-rural areas, that is where we can expect to find the most THC distributors (“caregivers”). Assuming a conservative figure of 25% of the state being non-rural gives us 16,438 square miles of non-rural area.
Department of Health estimates say that Amendment 2 will put more than 130,000 THC distributors into communities. That’s on average more than one every fifth of a square mile, a shape the size of just 2.5 football fields on each side. In other words on average a pot distributor/grower on average will be within easy walking distance of most communities.
Another way to look at this is to compare Amendment 2’s proposal to any common food such as milk. Every state has significant regulations covering the conditions under which cows are milked and how that milk is stored, processed, packaged and delivered. In some states, small independent farmers are severely restricted from selling raw milk due to health concerns and the need to protect public health. We are understandably careful about the production of milk yet it is not addictive, does not cause a permanent loss of IQ and never causes spontaneous psychotic breaks.
Before we pass a blanket authorization more than 100,000 people to distribute THC products, shouldn’t we institute at least the same level of control as we do for milk?
In 2014, Florida enacted the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act 2014 and established the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) to administer the regulatory guidelines needed to deliver low-THC and medical cannabis to qualified Florida patients.
As you would expect with any powerful and potentially dangerous drug, the OCU is working to benefit all Floridians by establishing guidelines for production, distribution and use of marijuana-based drugs. Some conditions such as epilepsy don’t respond to the intoxicating drug in marijuana (THC) so it doesn’t make sense to give epilepsy patients potentially addictive THC. The OCU is establishing procedures to provide low-THC marijuana to those patients.
Raw marijuana contains more more than one hundred related compounds called “cannabinoids” including tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. As mentioned THC causes intoxication and can lead to addiction so it makes sense not to give it to patients when it serves no medical purpose.
Years ago, salicylic acid was found in the bark of the willow tree and from it aspirin was first derived. You’ll notice that doctors don’t suggest we chew on willow bark which probably contains other things we don’t want in our system. Nor do doctors tell us to swallow salicylic acid which burns the throat and upsets stomaches. Scientific research was done to identify, extract, purify and standardize the compound that we know today as aspirin.
Similarly, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act put in motion the needed research, procedures and recommendations to identify any medically valuable parts of marijuana and standardize how those compounds are developed, processed and distributed.
As a society we took time and care with willow bark which, unlike THC products, doesn’t cause addiction or permanently lower IQ or trigger psychotic episodes. Perhaps it makes sense to take the same approach with pot.
To learn more about the OCU’s work, see their website. That site and news reports available on the Internet show that the Department has been systematically carrying out its mandates to establish a safe, secure and compassionate medical distribution system which will be in operation within a few short months — by September 2016.
As part of the Financial Impact Estimating Conference, the Florida Department of Health estimates that under Prop 2, there will be “1,993 registered Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers” in Florida.
According to answers.com, there are 375 Starbucks stores in Florida which means there will be 5 times that number of marijuana outlets.
Figures from the “Results From The 2014 National Survey On Drug Use And Health: Detailed Tables” report.
Look at Table 5.14A “Substance Dependence for Specific Substances in the Past Year, by Age Group: Numbers in Thousands, 2013 and 2014”
Total for marijuana and hashish (2014): 2,656,000
Total for ages 12-17 (2014): 304,000
This is one of those things that is obvious when you just take a look. Think about the last medicines your doctor prescribed and how it was packaged when you picked it up from a registered pharmacy. Then look at the images of THC products on this site. The difference is obvious.
If you’re old enough to remember a time when candy cigarettes were sold to kids who thought smoking them was “cool”, you’ll have a better appreciation for the way THC business packages high levels of THC in lollipops, PopTart lookalikes, candy bars, Rice Krispy treats, cookies and gummy bears.
At least one candy giant, Hershey, has taken action about the problem and sued a Colorado edible manufacturer for making candies that mimicked Hershey products. The THC company settled the lawsuit, agreed to recall all the products Hershey found offensive and committed never to use names or packaging that Hershey felt infringed on their brands.
“Cannabis” means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin.
Note in particular that this includes “resin extracted from any part of the plant.”
Also, Amendment 2 says centers dispensing THC projects may be involved in “… development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments.”
Note it specifically names “foods” which would include all kinds of edibles such as gummy bears, candies, cookies, snacks, cereal, soda drinks, candy bars, etc.