Thursday, October 30, 2014

Joe Trachtenberg On Marijuana Amendment

We've all heard the story - my dad has a painful disease - why not give him some relief, by allowing him access to medical marijuana. And if it was limited to your dad, and folks like him, why would anyone object?

We would like to think, requiring doctors' prescriptions would limit availability to only those folks who truly need this relief. You can trust doctors to honorably administer this program, right? Well, mostly. But remember when our area laid claim to being among the nation's most prolific "pain clinics". How long do you think it will take, for a handful of "pot docs" to rent storefront offices, and begin dispensing authorizations?

Among the greatest problems with Amendment 2, is the lack of a minimum age to receive this drug. Visualize your teenager visiting the "pot doc" claiming insomnia, or a pain in his or her leg - and walking out with a paper which will allow the purchase of pot. Your consent - not needed!

St. Matthew's House is dedicated to restoring lives to broken people. And the waiting lists for our recovery programs keep getting longer.

We carefully study our intake records for new admits to our Justin's Place recovery program. One common thread - high tobacco and marijuana use in high school, or earlier. So it's painfully curious, that as society increases its fight against tobacco, access to marijuana is becoming wide open. And under this law, marijuana stores can go anywhere. No limitation on proximity to schools, religious facilities, etc.

It is generally accepted, most cases of adult addiction begin in the teenage years. And when it comes to drugs, marijuana is the number one entry point.

Do we really need more people smoking pot, as part of their regular daily lives? Are the reports that auto accident rates have risen significantly in Colorado purely coincidental? And there is no question marijuana use is growing significantly, followed closely by heroin, which is present in every middle and high school, in our region.

The pollsters say this referendum is sure to pass. But there's still time for reason to prevail. Please don't make it even easier for our young people to ruin their lives. Sure there's lots of money to be made here, by growers, sellers and the government. But what's the ultimate outcome when fear of breaking the law is replaced with easy access to get high... and an easily defined path to addiction? Why are huge sums of money being spent to legalize "medical marijuana"? Do you really believe it's driven by altruism?

Common sense can still prevail. This is a very badly written bill. Its impact is vastly broader than its advocates suggest, with their slick ads of elderly people suffering. There is a well-defined correlation of teen marijuana use, to high school dropout rates. Please connect the dots - this amendment needs to be defeated.

-Joe Trachtenberg
Board Chairman, St. Matthew's House

Joseph Trachtenberg has lived in Naples since 2004 and was elected as the Chairman of the St. Matthew's House Board of Directors in 2014 after serving as a member since 2010. His professional history includes being Chairman/CEO of Victaulic Company before retiring in 2004. He is a graduate of the Greater Naples Leadership Class XIV and Co-founder of the Tamiami Angel Fund Investors Group I & II. Trachtenberg holds degrees from LIU in Brooklyn, NY and Columbia University Executive Management Program.


  1. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Allowing Dad some marijuana? As if he needs your permission. In case you forgot we are a free people and cannot be regulated anymore than the idiots trying to take ownership of an entire species of plant. In Colorado, crime has gone DOWN since legalization. The real danger is people like you who would advocate to continue the failed war on drugs. Your fear mongering is a thinly vialed defense of your own corrupt endeavors. Use real common sense and learn how this valuable plant became illegal in the first place. This debate is a crock, wake up people, control your own lives and stop letting government into your homes and bedrooms for enjoying life.

    1. Anonymous12:00 PM

      AGREED! So while the government plays it's games, people are suffering. Have you ever watched a person in the final stages of cancer, suffer? I have and it is not something I ever want to have to go through again! I watched my Son die right before my very eyes, the pain meds stopped working several months before he passed. But, due to government restrictions, I could not get him help via medical marijuana. Mr. Trachtenberg should be more concerned about the prescription drug and alcohol abuse running rampant in this town and leave alone what God gave us to help those suffering!

    2. I would love to know both of you anonymous commentators. You sound very libertarian in your philosophy and I am a registered libertarian looking to establish a local party in the Hendry Glades area. I am the organizer of the amendment 2 support rally yesterday. If interested in sharing ideas and political philosophy please contact me.

  2. The state legislature will be regulating the to broad amendment once it passes which is a GOP majority! Your preying on the fear of people and their children is proof that your opposition has no argument. The people and this initiative will prevail and that it is for the passing of medical marijuana for patients with debilitating diseases.

  3. Join us for a rally of support for this important patients right amendment!