JUNE 10, 2021 – Thirty-six states, four territories, and our nation’s capital have all legalized some form of marijuana. The state of Florida became the 22nd state to do so in 2014, but only for medicinal purposes in cases involving terminally ill patients. However, it was not until the Florida State Senate passed Senate Bill 8A, the Medical Use of Marijuana Act, in 2017 that the medical marijuana industry really took off.
This past year Florida reported nearly $1.23 billion in marijuana sales, according to a report by Leafly and Whitney Economics. Across the state the number of dispensaries have grown at an alarming rate. In downtown St. Augustine for example, there are now three operating within a one mile radius.
Despite our nation’s increasingly pro-marijuana culture, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved a handful of cannabis-related pharmaceuticals. FDA-approved medications like Merinol and Epidiolex treat severe illnesses like cancer, wasting syndrome, and acute cases of epilepsy. All other non-FDA-approved forms of marijuana remain illicit drugs under federal law.
It is important to note that contrary to Florida’s legislation to permit the use of medical cannabis, there is no “medical marijuana prescription” in Florida. It still remains federally illegal for a physician to prescribe a Schedule 1 drug in the United States. Therefore, no medical professional can legally or ethically prescribe a substance that may worsen their patients’ health or increase their odds of developing a marijuana use disorder. Further compounding the misconception is a non-stop advertisement campaign in which countless magazines, billboards, and social media sites proclaim the many health benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
“We are seeing a trend in the use of marijuana in youth and adults to cope with the stressors and anxiety of daily living,” said Sara Rutan, Clinical Director of EPIC Behavioral Healthcare in St. Augustine. “There is a perception of little risk being involved in this type of use, however studies are linking regular use to increases in anxiety, depression and psychotic episodes particularly if use begins younger or there is already a history of mood problems. These impacts can affect work, family and social life creating additional stressors and having a spiral effect in an individual’s life, the very opposite of the desired outcome.”
Additionally, cannabidiol oil or CBD oil can now be found in a multitude herbal remedies and homeopathic treatments, even though its use is still prohibited by the Department of Defense. The ease of access to CBD oil has proved problematic for servicemembers who have to read labels extremely carefully on everything from tea to joint pain creams.
Mr. Albert Figueroa, the Risk Reduction Coordinator with the Florida Army National Guard’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Risk Reduction Program, says the force has had more than 150 Soldiers test positive for THC during a urinalysis over the last two years, many of whom claim they never smoked or ingested traditional forms of marijuana.
“Last year I had the case of a Soldier that showed a positive THC result from having purchased a CBD product advertised online with curative properties,” said Figueroa. “Unfortunately, as this Soldier found out, none of these products are regulated, so the possibilities of coming up positive on a urinalysis are high, regardless of what is advertised regarding the amount of THC found through hemp products.”
Despite the fact that by law CBD products can have no more than 0.3 percent THC, many tobacco shops and internet vendors sell products that contain more than the legal limit and are sometimes laced with synthetic marijuana, fentanyl or oils contaminated with pesticides, molds and heavy metals. Subsequently, members of the military may test positive for THC, experience a fatal drug overdose, or some form of poisoning due to contaminants. Even CBD purchased through reputable dealers that contain the legal amount of THC can cause a buildup of the illegal drug in the body that could eventually trigger a positive urinalysis. In addition to punitive UCMJ action and likely dishonorable discharge, Soldiers who test positive for controlled substances now face consequences that can carry over into their civilian lives. In accordance with Title 18 U.S. Code Section 922, otherwise known as the “Brady Bill,” the Soldier in question may not purchase, possess, receive or ship any personally owned firearms or ammunition for up to one year from the date of the positive urinalysis.
“The sole reason I stay away from THC anything is simply because of the ramifications that could possibly ruin my career,” said Army Staff Sgt. Robert Gilmore, a Satellite Communication Systems Operator-Maintainer and Unit Prevention Leader with the 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. “With the way that THC products in general are available, via vape, oil or smoke means it’s hard to tell what is what. It’s just not worth it to me to try.”
Too much remains unknown for America’s servicemembers to risk their reputations, careers, and lives over an unproven medicinal drug that remains illegal under federal law. If you are at a point where you feel you may need help with your physical or mental health, please contact a medical or mental health professional.
In a crisis, call 911 or the Veterans Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-8255, Opt 1, or text 838255. Florida National Guardsmen can also call 1-855-910-5000 to reach a psychological health coordinator. For more information about mental health treatment options in your area, contact your local Veteran’s Affairs Clinic.
Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office
Fear of Medical Marijuana Legalization is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever.
So please all prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Medical Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?
Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.
The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for medical marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing sick patients and senior citizens in pain for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than popping daily handfuls of deadly, toxic, man-made, highly addictive, narcotic pain pills and other pharmaceuticals.
If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!
Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?
Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.
Regarding “The Children”,
Let’s not use “The Children” as an excuse to prohibit and criminalize adult use of a natural plant far less dangerous than perfectly legal alcohol because nobody condones child use, and this is about allowing adults only to choose marijuana.
It’s our responsibility as parents by to educate our children on drug use. It’s not the government’s job to force Draconian Marijuana Laws upon every adult citizen under the guise of protecting “The Children”.
What message are we sending our children when it is easier for them to obtain marijuana now with it being illegal than it is for them to buy alcohol?
It doesn’t take the intellect of a genius to understand that stores card kids for I.D. Thugs and gang members do not. They also push the real hard drugs on children. Stores do not.
Marijuana legalization will make it harder for children to obtain it.
What message does it send our children when several of the Presidents of The United States themselves alongside a long list of successful people openly admit regular pot use at one time or another in their lives?
While we tell our kids how it will ruin their futures, and then ensure so, by allowing our government to to jail our children and give them permanent criminal records when they get caught with a little Marijuana. Especially, if they are the wrong skin color or from the “wrong neighborhood”. Which in turn, ruins their chances of employment for life.
The Prohibition of Marijuana is the wrong message to send our children while we glorify, advertise and promote the much more dangerous use of alcohol like it’s an all American pastime.
The worst thing about marijuana and our children is what happens to them when they get caught up in the criminal justice system due to it’s prohibition.
Protect “The Children” and Our Neighborhoods Through The Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Nationwide!
There is absolutely no denying that the vast majority of Americans support providing full, safe, legal access to Medical Marijuana Nationwide.
The prohibitionist view on medical marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.
Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.
Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of medical marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.
With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a medical marijuana prohibitionist to do?
Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!
Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Medical Marijuana Legalization Efforts!.
The “War on Marijuana” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.
Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Marijuana”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It’s a no brainer.
The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?
Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?
Let’s end this hypocrisy now!
The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.
Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!
Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!