By Sean D. Hartman
At a recent meeting of the Lee County Republican Liberty Caucus, one of the board members proclaimed that it was our duty as caucus members to hold the Republicans we elect to office accountable.
It is for this reason that I reluctantly write this critique. Because, right now our Republican legislators, who pledged to support and defend liberty, are proposing legislation that will give them more power over our lives.
Though there are quite a few big government proposals coming out of the Tallahassee swamp, I specifically want to speak about the anti-pot legislation being touted by, amongst others, our very own Representative Spencer Roach.
Roach and other Republicans in Tallahassee—let’s call them Big Government Conservatives—believe that the government knows better than your doctor on what to prescribe to you. They want to limit key components of a medicine used by millions of veterans and Floridians with special needs, including myself.
It’s disappointing that we elect these candidates who pledge to reduce the size and scope of government, yet they turn around and stab us in the back with these blatant power grabs. At least a Democrat will have the integrity to look you in the eye when they take away your freedoms.
These Big Government Conservatives argue that the chemical they are reducing is the psychoactive chemical, and Roach recently posted on Facebook about “marijuana addiction.” To be clear, cannabis can be psychologically addictive—much like gambling or video games—but, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, it is not chemically addictive. Furthermore, such an addiction is only a dependence, which is different than other drug addictions as it is less severe.
But more importantly, even if it is addictive, and if the chemical is concerning, then isn’t the answer more personal responsibility, not more government? It seems these Big Government Conservatives don’t trust Floridians to know better. I didn’t vote a Republican slate for them to deliver a nanny state. If I wanted that, I would have voted blue.
In fact, if Big Government Conservatives visited a cannabis dispensary, they would find most patients quite knowledgeable of products. Those individuals who experience negative effects from the chemical Roach is proposing to ban purposefully avoid it. Marijuana patients are well-informed about what they are putting into their body and are already consuming their medicine responsibly. They don’t need bureaucrats in Tallahassee to get involved.
Roach and Big Government Conservatives are claiming this is for safety. And, as we all know, sacrificing liberty for safety is always a good thing. But if these Big Government Conservatives are so concerned about safety, why not limit the alcohol in beer and wine?
Alcohol is responsible for an estimated 95,000 deaths a year, according to the National Institutes of Health, and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. And those deaths aren’t just consumers…that includes innocent lives mowed down by drunk drivers, or family members murdered by inebriated abusers.
Yet Roach has no plans to limit alcohol content in this dangerous, mind-altering substance.
Roach has been advertising constantly on Fox Radio about the importance of conservative governance. “The redder the state, the better the state,” his ad says, and I agree!
But instead of limiting Florida’s government, he is adding more regulations on veterans and Floridians with special needs, simply because he can.
And that’s where I want to conclude. Because this anti-pot, anti-liberty legislation hurts real people. It hurts veterans, who Roach is essentially saying cannot wisely make decisions on what medicinal marijuana products to consume. It hurts Floridians with special needs who need this medication to live independent and productive lives. And it hurts them due to outdated propaganda and a lack of understanding of cannabis or the plight of those with mental health conditions.
I implore Spencer Roach, and the entire Lee County delegation, to withdraw this anti-liberty legislation, and do what we elected you to do, which was to LIMIT GOVERNMENT.
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