On June 26, 2014 representatives from the pro-marijuana group Florida CAN visited AMVets Post #301 in Ellington, FL to hold a forum on Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in the Sunshine state for medical use. Support for Amendment 2 is dropping in the polls. Approximately twenty-five people attended the forum, of which six were veterans.
The title of the presentation was “Let’s Talk About It: Open Forum on Cannabis in Florida.” The “let’s talk about it” part of the forum was one sided. The event was not an open forum. There were no opposing views presented and those who raised questions about the known negative impacts of marijuana use, especially by children, were shut down. The wife of one veteran who attended asked some hard questions was confronted by members of the panel after the forum.
During the forum the panel members used emotion rather than facts on the use and abuse of marijuana to make their case. The used cherry picked data and made misleading, and possibly false statements, to those in attendance to push for passage of Amendment 2.
Watch this video by Kevin Sabet, President Obama’s former Drug Czar and author of “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana.” After watching this video you will see how the forum panel members repeated some of these myths, like marijuana is harmless and non-addictive. To read all of the seven great myths about marijuana click here.
Panel members included: Kara Kampmeyer, President of Florida Angels of Mercy, Haydon Fouke a cancer survivor, Cathy Jordan and Robert Jordan, Mo Barnhart, CannaMom, Renee Petro, CannaMom, A.J. Bowman and Ryan another cancer survivor.
Kara Kampmeyer heads up the non-profit organization Florida Angels of Mercy to assist people in purchasing marijuana. It was Kampmeyer who stated that denying Floridians access to marijuana was akin to what “the Nazis did to the Jews.” She encouraged veterans to contact her if they need assistance with purchasing marijuana.
Mo Barnhart and her 3-year-old daughter Dahlia discussed the benefits of cannabis oil in treating her daughter’s brain cancer. After the forum Mo stated that while she was for using hemp oil to help Dahlia, she did not want her 12-year old son to have access to marijuana. She was against its general legalization.
Renee Petro said she was illegally utilizing hemp oil for her 12-year-old son. The Florida Department of Children and Families (FL-DCF) came to her house and questioned her children about her ability as a mother. Petro told them, “We are not criminals. As an American do we have rights? We do, but we don’t.” It appears FL-DCF gave her a pass for breaking the law by giving her children illegal drugs.
A.J. Bowman stated his concerns that even if Amendment 2 passes, Florida counties may opt-out as a “dry county?” Hayden Fouke stated, “I don’t care who uses it for whatever reason. There is a movement to keep cancer patients from having quality of life. We can’t let all the confusion of money at the last minute scare people.”
Fouke then said that marijuana is “the only drug on the market to improve the appetite.” He said, “I use a quarter of a brownie every day to kick-start my appetite.” At the same time Fouke said that marijuana helps people to lose weight, stating “From a patient standpoint, I can assure you that this [marijuana] works. It does not allow the (inaudible) in your stomach to hold the fat, so people who use marijuana have smaller waistlines. I am not some burned out hippie.” So which is it, a drug to gain weight or lose it?
Ryan, who shared his cancer story, believed that marijuana is the only reason he is still alive.
The moderator showed slides from 2011- Florida Medical Examiners Report summary of drug related deaths stating there are zero deaths from marijuana and marijuana is “Not a big gateway drug.” The facts are that the 2011 report shows 894 deaths from Cannabinoids and the 2012 report shows 384 deaths caused by Cannabinoids. According to the National Institute of Health Cannabinoids are the chemical components of cannabis (marijuana).
The following is a audio tape of the one hour forum: