TAMPA – The Florida Sheriff's Association is set to make a large push against the legalization of marijuana. Voters will decide on the legalization of medical marijuana in November.
The association sent an email to sheriffs across the state during the winter asking for their support. The Tampa Tribune reported that 63 of 67 sheriffs were in favor of opposing any measures to legalize the drug.
Lindsey Deaton, community relations coordinator for Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, says Ivey is one of the 63 who oppose it.
The association is also looking for the support of substance-abuse awareness and anti-drug groups to be part of the "Don't Let Florida Go To Pot" campaign. It also says there has been a spike in crime and traffic accidents in states that have passed similar legislation.
"Of the 20 states with the highest driver acknowledgement of drugged driving, 15 were states that have passed legislation legalizing marijuana," the association said in a statement. "The Los Angeles and Denver police departments have reported significant increases in crime since marijuana was legalized in their respective states."
The association said marijuana has a high potential for abuse and presents significant dangers to youths in the state.
"The legalization of marijuana will make this drug more readily available and easier to obtain by teens, as they would not need parental consent to get a 'physician's certification' for marijuana," the association said. "With no quality or dosage control, there is nothing in place to prevent these storefront marijuana dispensaries from selling to minors."
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said he doesn't have an issue with legitimate uses of medical marijuana, but believes, "the real purpose of this amendment is for recreational marijuana to be legalized."