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Monday, Mar 30, 2015

Letters to the editor, April 4


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Brooksville cameras deter business

As a relatively new resident to Florida, my wife and I have enjoyed taking day trips to small towns in the local area. Walking on the main street, eating at a local restaurant and enjoying the antique shops or tea rooms are a fun way to spend a Saturday or Sunday. If nothing else, it gets us away from our home near Tampa and it allows us to enjoy Florida’s real culture.

Two weeks ago, we visited Brooksville. This was my third trip to the city. We enjoyed the food, the people, history and the shopping. Everything from the old hardware store to the park was on our agenda. It was a nice experience, and we spent a good bit of money.

Not long after returning home, I received a letter in the mail. A picture of my car was included. It stated that I was driving approximately 12 miles per hour when I took a right hand turn through an intersection. I didn’t come to a full stop before my turn, and I now owed the city in excess of $150.

Frankly, there was no fighting it. I admittedly did not come to a complete stop at that intersection. I am completely in the wrong. The city is correct, and for their discovery they now have an extra $150 in revenue.

As a driver I learned two lessons in Brooksville. First and foremost is that I need to make sure that I come to a complete stop at all intersections like this one. Second, I came to the realization that I will not be returning to Brooksville as a shopper or tourist. I won’t be bringing my family there when they are in town, and I certainly won’t be telling friends of the photographic brick streets. I will be telling them of the photograph of my car.

When I left Brooksville, I had a positive image of the city. I could tell you about the oak trees, the Spanish moss, the friendly waitresses and the Stringer House. Now my mental picture is tarnished.

Last weekend I decided to go to Dade City instead of returning to Brooksville. I spent well in excess of that $150 on antiques for my plant shelves in the house. Next weekend, I will take my family to Plant City. I hope to pick up items for the garden. When my mother-in-law visits next month, we already have plans to return to Dade City. Ybor is also on the list of future visits.

I admit that my mistake was nobody else’s fault. I did not completely stop at an intersection in Brooksville. I will not commit that mistake again. I will not return to Brooksville.

Andrew Ignash


Approve medical cannabis act

House Speaker Will Weatherford needs to authorize a hearing on HB 1139 (the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act). This law would allow patients with serious illnesses to possess and use medical cannabis. It would also authorize physicians to recommend the use of cannabis and establish a safe and regulated supply for qualifying patients. It deserves a fair hearing and a vote in the House Health Quality Subcommittee.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine for some conditions. Rigorous clinical trials have established beyond any doubt that cannabis effectively relieves neuropathic pain, nausea and appetite loss. A couple of the many therapeutic components of the cannabis plant have been extracted and put in FDA-approved pills and sublingual sprays.

Despite the fact that pharmaceutical extracts have undesirable side effects for many patients and are remarkably expensive, individuals who are opposed to any change in criminal penalties frequently use the availability of pharmaceuticals as an excuse to continue arresting seriously ill patients for using the cannabis plant. This legislation would allow qualifying patients to utilize a number of safe alternatives that effectively deliver the same therapeutic compounds as pharmaceutical formulations without the harms of smoke inhalation, including vaporization or the ingestion of extracts and tinctures made from the cannabis plant.

As long as there are patients and doctors who prefer the natural botanical form, they should not be arrested and imprisoned for using or recommending it, no matter what alternatives are available. Simply possessing an ounce of marijuana in Florida can result in five years in prison. For this quantity, Florida’s penalties are the harshest in the entire country.  Even if an arrest does not culminate in a prison sentence, it is still senseless and cruel to subject seriously ill patients to a terrifying and degrading booking process, a night in jail, fines, probation and the stigma of a criminal record.

Two out of every three Floridians support a physician’s right to recommend cannabis for serious medical conditions. There is a compelling case for protecting the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship and supporting a compassionate exception for seriously ill patients. Authorize a hearing, collect all the facts and trust the House Health Quality Subcommittee to make an informed decision on HB 1139.

The people of Florida deserve to know where their elected officials stand on this issue.

Jon Bowes

President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at FSU 

Gun control

The president does not have to pass more stringent gun control measures. There is already de-facto gun control.

I participated in the shooting sports to much greater degree in the recent past, but, due to physical disabilities, I do so now only for home protection.

Recently, in preparation for some range practice, I went to purchase a box or two of 45 ACP ammo.

We were at Walmart to grocery shop, so I went back to the sporting goods department. I was faced with this large locked case filled with a meager three or four boxes of calibers, not of my choosing.

From there panic started to set in. Since I am a 100-percent-disabled Vietnam veteran, bouncing from store to store is not convenient; I (via my iPad) checked Cabelas, Sportsman’s Warehouse and several others, to no avail.

Now, in the past, I reloaded my own ammo, so I thought why not? Not only were the mechanicals hard to find, but powder and primers were impossible.

Now you can’t tell me that America does not have the capacity to produce ammo for recreational shooters or reloaders!

What’s Janet Napolitano’s phone number?

Dave Hopkins

Spring Hill

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