Florida Sheriff's Candidate Vows to Stop War on Pot


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My name is James McLynas and I am running for Sheriff of Pinellas County. While I do not have the power to hasten the change to the legalization of marijuana in Florida, an elected Sheriff has the power to expend the resources of his department in a manner that best serves the community. It would be my decision as elected Sheriff that wasting another hour of a deputy's time, or another dollar of taxpayer money investigating the possession or use of a harmless plant is insane.

It is my firm belief that the "War on Drugs" is in reality a "War on People" and has been a resounding failure on all fronts. From the trillions of dollars wasted, to the millions of lives ruined, not one single good thing has come from the war on drugs, and more specifically, the war on marijuana. A war that has its roots in controlling segments of the population and had nothing to do with anyone's safety.

Marijuana is one of the few substances on Earth that has never killed a single person. My position is not so much based on people's right to enjoy what they wish, or the fact that 88,000 people are killed each year by alcohol and zero by marijuana. It stems from the fact that incarcerating people over a plant, for smoking a plant, or growing a plant is literally insane. There are literally millions of lives ruined by the incarceration of not only the marijuana "offenders", but the collateral affects this has on their families, their children, their futures and their communities.

Legal marijuana in other states has conclusively proven that the sky did not fall. Drug abuse levels have fallen, not risen. Traffic accidents have gone down, not up. Dependence on prescription drugs has gone down, not up. Less youths under the age of 18 are using marijuana in states where it has been legalized, not more. Crime rates have also gone down. There has not been any negative impact from the legalization of marijuana, despite the lies and scare tactic propaganda that has been propagated. In fact the benefits have been resounding.

A new survey conducted by the Centre for Addictions Research of BC helps explain why Big Pharma is so afraid of cannabis. The pharmaceutical and alcohol industries, both powerful influences in Washington, have long lobbied against cannabis legalization in order to protect their profits. The survey of 473 adult therapeutic cannabis users found that 87% of respondents gave up prescription medications, alcohol, or other drugs in favor of cannabis. Adults under 40 were likely to give up all three of these for medical cannabis. Lowering the use of both alcohol and prescription drugs by using a harmless plant would reap long term savings in healthcare costs as well.

Here in Pinellas County, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax payer resources are spent investigating, charging, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana users when those resources could be better spent on so many other more worthwhile issues like education and community development. The resources of the PCSO can be better spent solving the almost 80% of the crimes that go unsolved under current Sheriff Robert Gualtieri.

While it is a bold proposal, it is a logical proposal that is in the best interest of everyone in Pinellas County. With the elimination of wasted resources chasing a plant and other similar changes, I will lower the Sheriff's annual budget by at least 10% the first year and an additional 5% each successive year. I will also lower crime rates by at least an additional 20% and increase the violent crimes solved in Pinellas county by at least 20%. I want to bring sanity back to policing here in Pinellas County. Please join me.

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Source: James McLynas for Pinellas County Sheriff
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