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?