As it has been mentioned before, Florida will be voting on a constitutional amendment in November that will allow for the sale and use of medical marijuana. With 88 percent of Floridians in support, according to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, the constitutional amendment is expected to pass with overwhelming support. However there are individuals that seek to undermine the will of the people. They are a small, well funded, group called the Drug Free Florida committee and they seek to “educate” Florida about the “dangers” of marijuana.
Like many prohibitionist groups, Drug Free Florida relies on half-truths, fear mongering and outright lies. While they may claim to be a “grass roots” organization, they are really just another inside-the-beltway lobbying group; when you shine a light on their kooky cohorts, the only thing you see is cockroaches scurrying.
Sarah Bascom is the spokeswoman for the Vote No on 2 campaign. If you haven’t heard of her, that’s okay, because she is a difficult person to pin down. A quick Google search of her name is unlikely to reveal much of who she is, mostly because she doesn’t want you to know who she is. Sarah Bascom is a political agent, hired by the highest bidder to influence the voters.
Bascom runs her own consulting firm Bascom Communications and Consulting. Ever a champion of the common man, some of her most significant legislative battles include lobbying on behalf of communications behemoth AT&T and the ever innocent company Dosal Tobacco. Surely it is a coincidence that a high paid corporate tobacco lobbyist is campaigning against medical marijuana; she’s probably just worried about the children.
Another All-Star on Drug Free Florida’s team is former Regan Administration drug czar, Carlton Turner. According to The Tampa Tribune, Turner donated $100,000 to Drug Free Florida in April and promises to donate more if, according to Turner, “they do good work.” Turner is famous for the “Just Say No” campaign and for his is insightful and informative knowledge on marijuana; having said in 1986, as cited by New Times Broward-Palm Beach, “marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and ultimately, AIDS.”
Perhaps the biggest fish in the Drug Free Florida pond is casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. When he is not making billions of dollars from his casinos or trying to ban online poker under the guise of “protecting children,” he is backing failed political campaigns, and it looks like he is at it again. According to Tampa Bay Times, Adelson reportedly donated $2.5 million to the Drug Free Florida committee. A notorious loser when it comes to politics, Bloomberg News reported in 2012 that Adelson has spent over $100 million on losing candidates.
If all these shadowy groups lobbying against medical marijuana have you spooked about its fate in Florida, do not worry. As you have seen, many of the supporters of Drug Free Florida may be wealthy and somewhat powerful individuals, but they are nothing more than a paper tiger. The reason these people are not in the spotlight is that they are on the fringe of mainstream politics in Florida.
Eighty-eight percent of Floridians support medical marijuana while the opposition only enjoys a small minority of twelve percent. It is hard to go against the entire state, and Drug Free Florida knows it. In the coming months you may see flashy ads or articles opposing the medical marijuana amendment in Florida, but let not your heart be troubled as the handful of people behind those ads are fighting a losing battle.