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Saturday, Aug 02, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

“Vote No on 2” anti-marijuana campaign commences

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a web site

Braynon responded, “I think it’s definitely playing on a racial undertone, trying to play on people’s fear. It’s ridiculous. I just don’t understand why that’s where they chose to go.”

Veteran Republican Orlando political consultant Tre’ Evers, who’s working for the Vote No group, denied that.

“Of course it’s not” a racial argument, he said. “The video has men and women of different ethnicities speaking on the issue, including a black educator.”

Reed, he said, is “an outstanding example in his community of somebody who’s come a long way from where he used to be, and he uses that in his ministry.”

In the video, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, head of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, which opposes the move, says, “Amendment 2 is not about those who are very sick. It’s about money for dope dealers.”

Also invoved in the opposition is Stephanie Haridopolos, a Brevard county family practice physician and wife of former state Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

The web site launch and the hiring of Evers’ firm, done with $100,000 start-up contribution from St. Petersburg Republican and anti-drug activist Mel Sembler, signal the beginning of what could become a full-fledged campaign against the measure.

The United for Care campaign in favor of the amendment is far ahead in total fundraising, but has spent most of its money -- mostly contributed by Orlando superlawyer John Morgan -- on a petition drive to get on the ballot.

Morgan has said he’ll provide further funding to run a campaign in favor of the amendment, and Sembler. though he’s made no public commitment, has left open the possibility he’ll do the same.

“The website and video are both filled with half-truths, distortions and outright lies,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager of United for Care. “Floridians deserve a debate based on the facts, not disingenuous scare tactics.”

His group has issued a point-by-point response to the Vote No arguments, including saying minors would not be able to get physician certificates to buy marijuana without parental consent because Florida law prohibits physicians treating minors without parental permission.


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