The Pros and Cons: Should medical marijuana be legal?

Personally, I have never used marijuana or other illegal drugs, and wondered what all the fuss is about. But I know plenty of people across the social spectrum who smoke pot, and it seems no more harmful than alcohol. The libertarian in me says take a laissez-faire approach: If it does no harm, let the individual decide for himself.

The “facts” on medical marijuana are as diverse as the people who smoke it. Credible studies from one side are countered with convincing conclusions by the other – and both sides have strong and plausible points.

At over $40 billion annually, enforcing our nation’s marijuana laws is expensive. Pot is big business not just for dealers, but for those who enforce our drug laws. And marijuana has the potential to be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry. If scientists are able to package the benefits of marijuana into a pill, it would be a gold mine for the drug companies. Those companies have a vested interest in keeping weed unavailable to patients in its natural state.

For the pro-legalization point of view, I spoke at length on two occasions with John Morgan. To date, Morgan has put more than $1 million of his own money to get the medical marijuana issue on the ballot next year.

For the opposing view, I spent a day with Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, discussing the issue as we patrolled the streets and went on a scheduled security check over Hillsborough County in a sheriff’s office helicopter.

By CHRIS INGRAM

Special to The Tampa Tribune Sunday, November 24, 2013
marijuana_debate_header

Thanks to a well-funded effort by ubiquitous trial lawyer John Morgan, Florida voters are likely to get the opportunity to vote for, or against, approving the use of medical marijuana next November.

For most supporters, the issue of medical marijuana is a highly emotional issue based on personal beliefs and scientific evidence that is often criticized by the establishment. Meanwhile, opponents say approving marijuana usage for medicinal purposes is a mere foot in the door that will eventually lead to approval of recreational marijuana use. That, they say, will lead to greater use of harder drugs and create more societal ills.

Personally, I have never used marijuana or other illegal drugs, and wondered what all the fuss is about. But I know plenty of people across the social spectrum who smoke pot, and it seems no more harmful than alcohol. The libertarian in me says take a laissez-faire approach: If it does no harm, let the individual decide for himself.

The “facts” on medical marijuana are as diverse as the people who smoke it. Credible studies from one side are countered with convincing conclusions by the other – and both sides have strong and plausible points.

At over $40 billion annually, enforcing our nation’s marijuana laws is expensive. Pot is big business not just for dealers, but for those who enforce our drug laws. And marijuana has the potential to be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry. If scientists are able to package the benefits of marijuana into a pill, it would be a gold mine for the drug companies. Those companies have a vested interest in keeping weed unavailable to patients in its natural state.

For the pro-legalization point of view, I spoke at length on two occasions with John Morgan. To date, Morgan has put more than $1 million of his own money to get the medical marijuana issue on the ballot next year.

For the opposing view, I spent a day with Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, discussing the issue as we patrolled the streets and went on a scheduled security check over Hillsborough County in a sheriff’s office helicopter.  (Click here to read the full column in Sunday’s Tampa Tribune.)

Gee still
Click on image to quick link to video interview with Sheriff Gee.
Morgan still
Click on image to quick link to video interview with Sheriff Gee.

 

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found here. You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.

Schorsch, Crist and the Tampa Bay Times

As part of Smith’s posting, he included a list of all of the “insiders” who participated in the poll – who may participate by invitation only – from Smith. On the list this week were the usual assortment of regulars, but one name on the list struck me as odd and inappropriate for being a participant. That name: Charlie Crist.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Bay Times seems to be in a funk. Of late, the newspaper has shown poor judgment and a lack of journalistic standards. On two recent occasions the paper has shown why readers may be abandoning it – it lacks credibility. Meanwhile, cross-bay rival the Tampa Tribune’s (which I contribute a column to, but am not employed by) circulation numbers have increased – one of just two Florida dailies to post increased circulation  numbers last year.

In addition to perpetually having a thing for publishing exhaustingly long, one-sided, front-page stories about the Church of Scientology, the paper is starting to show low standards of journalism and good judgment. Unfortunately for readers, they may not even recognize it.

Here are two examples:

Proving the Times‘ bias against Rick Scott

On Friday, the Times’ online “Buzz” section posted a story by the paper’s political editor, Adam Smith about how Florida “political insiders” view a variety of state and local political matters. The insiders survey is something Smith does on occasion, and which I have regularly participated in. Friday’s “Buzz” post was about what insiders think about the governor’s race and likely match-up between Governor Rick Scott, and former Governor Charlie Crist (among other subjects). No harm there, but the devil is in the details. 

As part of Smith’s posting, he includes a list of all of the “insiders” who participated in the poll (participants must be invited to do so by Smith). On the list this week were the usual assortment of regulars, but one name on the list struck me as odd and inappropriate for being a participant. That name: Charlie Crist.

cristcharlie 057
Caption: The Tampa Bay Times certainly loves Charlie.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Times conducted a survey about Florida politics and included one of the candidates being surveyed about for his opinion about his own race! That’s like asking the CEO of McDonalds, “Who makes the best hamburger?” What do you think he is going to say?

To make matters worse, when I inquired with Smith about Continue reading “Schorsch, Crist and the Tampa Bay Times”

Watch out for the politically correct police — they’re on the warpath

The New England Patriots have perhaps the most racially insensitive name in all of professional sports. The origin of the team name is based on those who fought the British crown and gave America its independence. If you’re to believe today’s history books (as written by the PCP), these were bad men who were mostly white, wealthy and slave-holders who used mob violence to get their way.

By Chris Ingram

Almost as predictably as the decennial census, every decade or so the politically correct police (PCP) aim their sights on the Washington Redskins, for what they view as the team’s racist name.

Although the intended meaning of an individual’s usage of a word, and how it is interpreted by those who hear it is subjective, Smithsonian Institution senior linguist Ives Goddard has concluded that the term “redskin” was first used by Native Americans in the 18th century to distinguish themselves from whites.

Former Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke said, “I admire the Redskins name. I think it stands for bravery, courage, and a stalwart spirit, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue to use it.”

Daniel Snyder, who is the current owner of the National Football League team, has said he will never change the name because “what it means is tradition, what it means is competitiveness, what it means is honor.” Adding, “It is not meant to be derogatory.”

But facts about the origins of the word, or the intent of owners current or past, are not relevant to the PCP.

But why should they stop there?

Verlin Deer In Water

In an effort to help them with their efforts to make the world as politically correct as possible, I have compiled the following short list of other team names that should be changed. Like the Redskins team name controversy, these are based on ignorance of facts and renaming any of the following would do nothing to actually make the world a better place.

This being Tampa, we should start with the Buccaneers. A Buccaneer, of course, is akin to a pirate. Pirates rape, rob and plunder. These are bad people, and they are extremely dangerous and threatening. The Bucs should rename the “pro-violence” name they have and change it to one that would more adequately reflect the team when it is on the field. I suggest the Tampa Bay Continue reading “Watch out for the politically correct police — they’re on the warpath”

Beetle Bailey, er, Charlie Crist, starts his march to the sea

At his announcement in St. Petersburg on Monday, Crist took a page out of Chapter One of the Democratic Party’s campaign manual. The chapter is titled, “Class warfare works!” Crist followed it just as his campaign advisers no doubt told him to, by taking swipes at Gov. Rick Scott for being wealthy — as though coming from lower middle-class and humble means (as Scott did), should be considered a negative. Only someone born to privilege (as Charlie Crist was), who has never built a business, and never personally created a single job, or met a payroll, would think making something of yourself on your own abilities and fulfilling the American dream is something to be ashamed of.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, November 6, 2013

If Charlie Crist was a comic book character, he would be Beetle Bailey.

Beetle Bailey is known for being loose, lackadaisical and utterly likable. He also is something of a knucklehead, more interested in pursuing a good time than achieving anything of merit.

Like Beetle Bailey, Crist is extremely personable and is a master campaigner who knows how to make people feel good. They both also share a longing for fun and a free-spirited nature — which is great when you’re a comic character who is a hapless private in the Army. Not so great when you’re expected to lead the nation’s fourth-largest state.

images CRIST3

Outside of being likable, Crist has little else to offer. He is an empty suit and a political opportunist who does not have convictions. As someone who lacks significant accomplishment in life outside of politics, Crist is the poster-child of a career politician who is a member of the political class. His 2010 U.S. Senate campaign opponent, Marco Rubio, is also a member of this group. These political ladder-climbers lack the real-world skills, life experiences and business practices to effectively lead our country. For the best and most well-known member of this group, look no further than Barack Obama.

All three of them have been given Continue reading “Beetle Bailey, er, Charlie Crist, starts his march to the sea”

Schorsch plays loose with the facts

I spoke to Speaker Weatherford today and here is what he said about Schorsch, “He is not on my payroll. All we have ever done is paid for ads on his website. He’s never been a consultant for me. Ever.”

Speaker Weatherford on Peter Schorsch: “He’s never been a consultant for me. Ever.”

By Chris Ingram

Friday kudos to the Republican Party of Florida’s Communications Director, Matt Moon for calling a spade a spade.

I am referring to the RPOF’s Memo of today to national media outlets warning them of the dangers of dealing with, or taking “as credible” anything that rolls out of the cave of one Peter D. Schorsch. Schorsch of course is the blowhard blogger who fancies himself as a journalist when it is convenient, and claims he is not a journalist when it is not. Publisher of the website St.Petersblog, his ego generally arrives about 30 minutes before he does. Schorsch it has also been well documented by multiple media outlets plays loose with the facts, typically ends up being the story for people whom he consults for and has a lengthy criminal background (including Grand Theft, Scheme to Defraud). Bottom line is, he is bad news from his head to his toes.

Pictured: Peter Schorsch. Photo courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Several political candidates and elected officials have told me over the years they advertise on his site because their consultants have said if you do, Schorsch is less likely to write nasty things about you. This is apparently a heck of a way to make a living which Schorsch is fond of bragging about.

So today, the RPOF took on Schorsch with a memo (see below). In response to the memo, and once he got over being excited when he realized he would “be the news” again, Schorsch published on St. Petersblog the following: Continue reading “Schorsch plays loose with the facts”