State senator from St. Petersburg says he’s spending his campaign donations to fight Amendment 2

State Sen. Jack Latvala said he’s spending “the lion’s share” of his campaign war chest to fight Amendment 2, the measure to expand Florida’s state-regulated medical marijuana industry. That includes TV ads such as the one above, airing in Tampa.

“We have no scientific evidence that there’s any medicinal value to marijuana,” Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, said during a news conference Friday hosted by the Vote No on 2 Campaign.

Latvala acknowledged that he’s fighting public opinion. Polls show Amendment 2 is likely to pass Nov. 8.

The veteran lawmaker said he worries that cannabis candies will be available to children, that lawmakers won’t be able to change the cannabis industry once it’s enshrined in the state constitution, and that local communities will be forced to allow dispensaries to operate. While many see marijuana as a low-risk substance, Latvala says it’s a dangerous “gateway drug.”

“I have no doubt this chemical … is going to be demonstrated to be harmful,” Latvala said.

Latvala has raised $513,898.77 for his re-election campaign. Cynics might note that contributors to his 2016 campaign include Anheuser-Busch, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Southern Wine & Spirits and Bigtown Liquors, along with pharma giants Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Merck, Pfizer and Zeneca Services.

Some research indicates that drinkers replace booze with weed when marijuana is more readily available, while pot proponents say Big Pharma fears cannabis as a replacement for other, less effective drugs.


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John Morgan and Sheldon Adelson: Meet the money men behind Florida’s pot fight

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Disappointment for medical pot patients revealed their secret during Amendment 2 campaign

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