Florida Sheriff Responds w/ Ignorance on NBC Marijuana Debate


Florida NBC Affiliate WESH, hosted a debate on Amendment 2 which is being voted on this november.

In the videos of the debates, note Pinellas County Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri responding with very little logic and relevant information. His comments are indicative of the more-than-likely positive outcome of reform


Here are a couple of his completely uneducated quotes:

“This is about smokable marijuana for recreational use because people want to sit at home on saturday nights with the strobe light on, cheech and chong playing, and smoke their pot.”

“I dont want to take my 9 yr daughter to starbucks and walk through a cloud of marijuana smoke”


NBC WESH 2 in Florida Reports:

ORLANDO, Fla. —Supporters and opponents of Florida’s controversial medical marijuana initiative, Amendment 2, squared off in a WESH 2 debate Wednesday evening.

The amendment will be on the ballot Nov. 4 and requires 60 percent of the votes to pass.

Watch the debate: Part 1 | Part 2

Local attorney John Morgan has been the face behind the push to legalize medical marijuana. He points to his brother Tim, a quadriplegic since age 18.

Morgan said medical marijuana is an issue of compassion and took issue with attack ads claiming otherwise.

“They want to say things like ‘drug dealers are going to be caregivers’ and ‘our children will get their hands on medical marijuana.’ The only tricks are the ads that are running in opposition to Amendment 2,” he said.

State-by-state look at marijuana laws

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri debated with Morgan, arguing that  Amendment 2 is too broad and allows little room for the Legislature or health department to change it.

“It’s a bad idea for Florida. It doesn’t belong in the Constitution,” he said. “Law enforcement will be faced with what we did during the prescription drug abuse epidemic.”

Gualtieri said legal THC is already available by prescription for patients who need it, but Morgan said that doesn’t work.

The two argued over the true intention of the law, who would be using the marijuana and how it would be regulated.

“We regulate our citrus. We regulate our food. I’ll tell you what’s not regulated; the marijuana that’s sold in high schools over in (Gualtieri’s) district,” Morgan said.

Gualtieri said the legalization would be bad for law enforcement because there would be more impaired drivers on the road, and medical marijuana has created “underground empires” in other states where people sell it to avoid taxes.

“This isn’t about medical use,” said Gualtieri. “This is about smokeable marijuana, for recreational use, because people want to sit around Saturday night with the strobe lights going and Cheech and Chong playing and smoke their pot.”

“The reason he said that is because his arguments for medical marijuana fall flat on their face,” Morgan responded.

The second half of the debate brought in two Central Florida doctors. Dr. Clifford A. Selsky, a pediatrician from Winter Springs, supports the amendment, and Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, a family practitioner from Brevard County, does not.

Haridopolos said she agreed there are medical benefits of the drug, but she worries about the effect of marijuana on children’s IQ, and she echoed Gualtieri’s concerns that the Legislature and health department can’t change it once it passes.

“The department of health estimates that there is going to be 1,800 pot shops in the state of Florida. That’s more than Walmart, Starbucks and McDonald’s combined,” she said.

Clifford said there is decades of evidence that supports marijuana’s medical benefits.

“At this point, we are about to embark on an effort to compassionately provide a medicine to people who need it. The fact that certain people can become addicted to this, I think is an aside,” he said.

The debate was moderated by Peter Alexander from NBC News.


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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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One Comment

  1. I can’t stand ignorant sheriffs and police officers. I hope it gets past for medical reasons in my opinion cause I am a CANCER SURVIVOR of Hotckins Lymphoma and I wish I could of smoked marijuana when I was gong through that chemo therapy and depression. Take it from a person that’s fought stage 3 cancer, it’s hard. I don’t care what anyone says because those people that say, “I could imagine what your going through or I can imagine” no you dont unless you’ve experienced it your yourself. It’s a plant that God put on the earth! Tax it and the government could make money off of it. The sherif saying something about Starbucks made himself look stupid. People won’t be doing that and you can’t smoke marijuana IN STARBUCKS, or even cigs in Starbucks. He’s just afraid of change. Florida has got my vote along with all my other friends that have been there for me through my struggles in life and the disease I fought. Marijauna will end up curing cancer most likely and we sat around this whole time spending money on stupid pills and going completely broke off of medicine called chemo therapy that just destroys you completely.

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