Yesterday was 4/20, so even politicians are taking the opportunity to send you emails about marijuana.
I’m not a politician, but I am a political consultant who helped pass the Florida medical marijuana law that received 71% of the vote in 2016. I’ve spent the last 5 years advocating for marijuana reform laws in Florida and Washington D.C.
It’s one of the reasons I support Mary Barzee Flores for Congress. Mary, a former public defender and criminal court judge, knows the criminal justice system firsthand—and that’s why she supports medical marijuana laws and the legalization of marijuana for adult use.
So I was shocked when I got an email from one of Mary’s opponents, Donna Shalala, on 4/20 of all days, saying she supported significant reforms to our marijuana laws (but not legalization).
That simply doesn’t jive with Ms. Shalala’s record.
In 1996, California and Arizona passed the first two medical marijuana laws in the country. At the time, Shalala was Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration. This is what she had to say:
“[W]e are deeply concerned about the messages to American teenagers that these two initiatives sent and we are energizing our own efforts, particularly as it pertains to marijuana, to make it clear to young people that marijuana is dangerous, it’s illegal and it’s wrong.”
She endorsed the long-discredited “gateway drug” theory in an article she wrote titled, “Just Say ‘No’ to the Legalization of Marijuana.” In her own words, Shalala believed (believes?) that legalizing marijuana, “would cause more young people to use—and become addicted to—marijuana, as well as other drugs.”
But all that was over two decades ago, right?
While at the helm of UM, Shalala instituted draconian policies regarding the use of marijuana by students—one which included no provision for sick and suffering students who needed medical marijuana.
And when the Miami-Dade Democratic Party endorsed the 2014 medical marijuana amendment—which got 58% of the vote but still failed to meet Florida’s 60% requirement for approval—Donna chastised the head of the Party, saying they shouldn’t get involved in “public health” issues.
Donna isn’t being honest about marijuana.
Maybe she’s converted to the position she claims today, but for most of my 33 years alive, she’s been on the wrong side. She’s been an ADVOCATE for the wrong side.
It may be 4/20, but that doesn’t mean Donna Shalala can blow smoke up my ass.