Florida voters will soon decide whether they want to legalize medical marijuana in their state. As November election day draws closer, polls indicate the ballot initiative, known as "Amendment 2," has strong popular support — and its opponents are descending ever further into reefer madness.
The anti-legalization group "No On Amendment 2" says the ballot initiative is a Trojan horse to eventually push for legalization of all forms of pot. The organization rejects the idea that there are any differences between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. And their recent ad (above) claims that marijuana-laced cookies will be the drug of choice for sexual predators.
As science and health writer Erin Brodwin observes over at News.Mic:
Marijuana is simply not a date rape drug.
Here's how actual date rape drugs work: Predators slip drugs like ketamines (Special K) or rohypnol (roofies), which typically have no color, smell or taste, into drinks or food when their target isn't paying attention. The drugs not only make you physically weak but slow down your brain, making you feel confused and sometimes knocking you unconscious, thereby unable to refuse sex.
Marijuana doesn't work that way. Worse still, misleading ads like these distract people from the fact that a (perfectly legal) drug is the single most commonly used substance to help commit sexual assault — alcohol. While there is some evidence to suggest that people experience impaired judgment while high, weed's effect on reasoning and reaction time is far less pronounced than alcohol's. Never mind the women survivors who have actually experienced sexual assault after being drugged with real date rape substances.
Meanwhile, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 88% of Florida voters back legalized medical marijuana, including 80% of Republicans. Yet, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush recently voiced his opposition to Amendment 2.
As the Washington Post reports:
"Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire," Bush said. "Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts."
You'd expect presidential candidates to be on board with an idea that's literally more popular than apple pie. So why isn't the crop of potential GOP White House hopefuls—including Bush— on the same page as the rest of the public (and really, the rest of their party)?
One answer is that candidates can be pretty slow to shift their position on social issues. Another is, well: the money. Medical marijuana has encountered opposition from the business community, which is a very influential donor pool for Republican candidates. The Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida and the Florida Trucking Association are each, along with Bush, part of the coalition opposing Amendment 2.