Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is well known for pithy comments that sometimes go on to become folklore, and that was brought to the attention of all attending the Tuesday, March 27 Tiger Bay of Polk County luncheon in which the sheriff was the keynote speaker.
However, once in awhile Judd is the recipient of a pithy comment directed at him and Tiger Bay moderator S.L. Frisbie managed to elicit a broad smile and slight chuckle from Judd. In Frisbie’s introduction, he mentioned that Judd is known for his religious faith and values. In his preparation, Frisbie mentioned he had spoken to Judd’s wife to find out whether the sheriff had a favorite Bible verse. Frisbie was told there is, which the moderator then shared.
“Judd not lest ye be Judd,” quipped Frisbie.
With that introduction, Judd cut to the chase and opened his presentation on the topic of medical marijuana.
“Those of us in law enforcement call it medical marijuana excuse,” said Judd, who went on to call the movement to legalize it a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “This is a well-played, well-thought out fraud.”
It is, he said, an excuse to eventually legalize recreational marijuana use. Judd further stated by calling it medical marijuana it is playing upon people’s sympathies and cited surveys that asked people if they supported the idea of medical marijuana, which the overwhelming majority do. However, when asked if Floridians support recreational marijuana, those numbers plummeted.
Judd went further, citing data collected in Colorado that the overwhelming majority of those people using the drug — 96 percent — do not have a debilitating disease, and that the average user is a male in his 30s. As for feeling better, most likely, opined Judd, what users actually were feeling was the state of euphoria being stoned brings about.
He also was critical about the wording on the Florida ballot initiative.
“It is written with a loophole big enough to sink a battleship,” said Judd. With that he pointed out certain facts; such as it would provide immunity to a certain select group, doctors and growers; that many “pot shops” would be cash only businesses; and the only requirement to dispense being a person must be at least 21 and have no more than five customers. Of the latter, Judd said practically anyone could be a dispenser.
To further emphasize his stance, Judd read aloud medical marijuana advertisements currently running in California. The ads promoted a number of freebies and give-aways, but none mentioned medical use.
“Does this sound like reputable medical marijuana to you?” he rhetorically asked.
Before he moved on to other topics, he challenged the notion that marijuana does not kill. He referred to several instances in which death resulted, whether directly, when a parent smoked. In one instance it led to a shooting because a gun was not in a secure area. In two other instances, one child drowned and just recently a near-drowning occurred. In each of these situations, a presumptive test was conducted and without fail, all three proved positive.
“While mom is sitting around in the living room, stoned on marijuana, her child is dying,” he said.
Judd closed by reiterating a statement he made several times, that he is a servant of the people. Should medical marijuana be made legal, he will uphold the law. However, he reminded people that just as with alcohol, there will be “all kinds of regulations,” just as there are with alcohol.
“It will just be a different set of regulations,” he said. In his closing he again stated his opposition to the ballot as it is written. Contact legislators and get them to write the law to be enforced as it is intended. As for the current wording he was emphatic.
“That’s not medical marijuana, but that’s what they want to bring to Florida,” he said.
“It’s the first step to legalize recreational marijuana.”