Just vote ‘no’ on Amendment 3

Amendment 3, a referendum to enshrine recreational marijuana in the Florida Constitution, is up for a vote in November. The ballot language makes no mention of the significant costs to the voter. Legalizing recreational marijuana will dramatically increase the cost of electricity, car insurance and health insurance.

A person prepares a marijuana cigarette during 420 celebrations in Washington Square Park in New York City on April 20, 2024. April 20 is an unofficial international counterculture celebration of cannabis.A person prepares a marijuana cigarette during 420 celebrations in Washington Square Park in New York City on April 20, 2024. April 20 is an unofficial international counterculture celebration of cannabis.

A person prepares a marijuana cigarette during 420 celebrations in Washington Square Park in New York City on April 20, 2024. April 20 is an unofficial international counterculture celebration of cannabis.

A 2022 study published by the Society for the Study of Addiction concluded that there appears to be an average 20% increase in the frequency of cannabis use in the United States attributable to recreational legalization. Marijuana consumption also increased across all age groups when Canada legalized marijuana. This is especially true among young people, as they think that it can do no harm because it is legal. Making it legal doesn’t make it right; it normalizes dangerous behavior. The scientific evidence is overwhelming; The number of fatal car accidents will increase significantly if recreational marijuana is legalized. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the percentage of Washington drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled after that state made marijuana legal for recreational use. Another study published in 2019 in the journal “Accident Analysis & Prevention” concluded that fatalities increased in Colorado and Washington after the opening of commercial recreational marijuana dispensaries. The study states that in “the five years since legalization, fatal crashes increased more in Colorado and Washington than would be expected.” In Colorado, between 2013, when that state legalized recreational marijuana, and 2019, the number of traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana decreased by 140%, according to a Colorado State Police report.

More states will legalize recreational marijuana by 2024.More states will legalize recreational marijuana by 2024.

More states will legalize recreational marijuana by 2024.

The likelihood of a fatal car crash increased significantly in states that legalized recreational marijuana. A recent study published in the journal “Social Science & Medicine” revealed a substantial increase in fatal accidents by 22% in Oregon and 20% in Alaska when they legalized it. More traffic fatalities lead to higher car insurance premiums. A study published in “JAMA Network Open found that emergency room visits increased by 475% when Canada legalized marijuana. The study suggests that “the number of traffic accidents involving cannabis has increased over time and that the commercialization of the cannabis markets could lead to further increases.” In states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, children, especially those under the age of 10, are at increased risk of accidental poisoning from edibles and other products made from marijuana. The average number of emergency room visits due to cannabis use in this age group is higher then triple, from 20.9 per 10,000 visits in 2019 to 65.6 per 10,000 visits in 2022. More emergency room visits mean higher health insurance premiums and much longer emergency room wait times Voting to legalize marijuana will also reduce electricity costs for everyone in Florida. Demand for electricity will increase dramatically as growing marijuana consumes staggering amounts of energy. According to a 2020 study published in the journal ‘Nature Sustainability’, indoor cannabis cultivation in the United States alone accounted for approx. 1% of the total electricity consumption in the country. Even in the Sunshine State, marijuana must be grown indoors because it requires a minimum of 18 hours per day of high-intensity lighting, such as high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps, to be commercially viable. “Growing an ounce of pot indoors can emit as much carbon as burning a full tank of gas” is the title of an article in Smithsonian Magazine. Researchers at Colorado State University write that greenhouse gas emissions from the Colorado marijuana industry (2.6 megatons of carbon dioxide) are greater than those from the state’s coal mining industry (1.8 megatons of carbon dioxide). Growing marijuana has a carbon footprint that easily exceeds that of most polluting industries. Protect our young children, our safety, our health, our environment and, above all, our wallets. Vote no on Amendment 3.

Johannes Michael PierobonJohannes Michael Pierobon

Johannes Michael Pierobon

John Michael Pierobon is the Vice Chairman of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Broward County, and the Chairman of the Tobacco Free Environments Subcommittee of the Tobacco Free Workgroup of the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade, and an active member of Tobacco Free Volusia .

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Florida: Just vote ‘no’ on Amendment 3