“It is quite possible that someone is insane and they think they have a chance. Not insane in the clinical sense, but they may have such a strong political ambition that they blind themselves to reality”.…Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett could have been thinking of Mr. Putnam when he wrote this. It’s no surprise Adam Putnam, Commissioner for the Florida Department of Agriculture, announced his candidacy for the Governor of Florida. Putnam is passionate about his political aspiration and of course, he is confident he can win.
But there is a different reality ahead for Adam Putnam. 71.3% of Florida voters approved Amendment 2, legal medical marijuana. And since last November, the Florida lawmakers have taken Amendment 2 to places it was never intended to go.
Dissension has been blooming in Florida politics for a long time. But today, there is something very different from the past. Today, the wide demographic of the people’s voice regarding Amendment 2, are “mad as hell and they are not going to take it any more.”
“The whole speech is incredibly moving and empowering and it gives me chills, but that part brings me to tears!” Taylor TM
“BUT FIRST, you’ve GOT to GET MAD!!! You’ve got to say, “I’m a HUMAN BEING, GOD-DAMN IT!! MY LIFE HAS VALUE!!!” VampireYoshi
“This is from 1976..1976!!!! The sad thing is, that now, it’s more relevant than ever!” TomCashTV
The 2017 legislative session failed to establish regulations. This is unacceptable! A constitutional amendment should receive high priority. But, it was just as well. What the 71.3% were about to get wasn’t what they voted for.
From beginning to end, the whole ordeal was a mess. And in the middle, was the unbelievable presence of Calvina Fey, supported by the Semblers, Founders of Drug Free America. Mel Sembler aligned himself with Representative Ray Rodriguez, author of HB1397. Rodriguez allowed Ms. Fey to provide input into the language of the bill. Sembler’s objective was to pass the appropriation bill which would require the state to provide $500,000. for a marijuana prevention program.
Now, pending a possible special legislative session, Amendment 2 has been given to the Department of Health, Office of Compassionate Use to establish regulations. Christian Bax, Director of the OCU, was placed into his position thanks to his sister Laura, who is also in the Department of the OCU, and of course, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott. Bax’ resume was falsified. He is clearly unqualified for this important position. It is unconscionable, but an example of how Tallahassee has viewed the whole Amendment 2 process. According to the Department of Justice, Florida ranks #1 in corruption.
Elected officials have embarrassed their constituents. They either don’t realize it or don’t care. The outrageous and completely unacceptable actions and statements we have seen and heard over the past few months, clearly indicate those making the decisions for something as important as Amendment 2, are not educated on the miraculous attributes of cannabis.
The community of cannabis advocates have offered to help. Prior to the legislative session, the Department of Health held public hearings in various locations in the state with the objective of gathering real information on what the prospective patients expected. It proved to be all for show. It was as if the hearings never happened.
Along the way, supporters of Amendment 2 pledged enough is enough! This behavior from the leaders of Florida isn’t going to change until those who don’t understand and are not willing to learn are removed from office. Supporters have committed to scrutinize the background and track record of candidates running for new positions and vow to remove non-believers from office.
Certainly, you can understand how the 71.3% arrived in this place Mr. Putnam. They have tried to be understanding and tolerant. Voting for Florida politicians based on their word hasn’t worked. The people of Florida are angry for many reasons. It isn’t just Amendment 2. But this is for the supporters of Amendment 2. Because we have been caught in the middle of the war on humanity that has been going on over 40 years. For all the issues on Amendment 2 that has brought us to this point, if we can use it to ignite a movement among our beloved community to vote, based on real information, true and honest, it may be worth it.
Adam Putnam is a unique candidate. Unlike other Florida politicians, Mr. Putnam knows something about cannabis. He has been in control of the budget for the Domestic Marijuana Eradication program, an arm of the Drug Enforcement Agency. The program has been operational for over 20 years and has resulted in the detection of over 34,000 illegal grow sites, eradication of more than 2.7 million marijuana plants valued over $3.2 billion, and the arrest of over 17,000 cultivators in Florida. These numbers are likely not accurate. They are typically exaggerated by law enforcement to justify increases in funding.
Since 2008, the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement has administered disbursements of federal funds originating from the United States Department of Justice to support local, state and county agencies in their efforts to eradicate domestically grown marijuana.
The Florida Marijuana Eradication Program is funded by the DEA eradication program, which is funded in part by an asset forfeiture fund of the Department of Justice. In other words, assets seized, sometimes without a conviction, fund the national DEA program, which funds the state level eradication program to destroy cannabis, and in turn drives incarceration of Florida citizens, and the seizure of more assets.
In the 2015 Florida Marijuana Eradication Program Annual Report there were 279 arrests and $3,600,543 in assets seized. If those 279 arrested serve a minimum of one year in Federal incarceration that equates to $8,542,938 tax payer dollars. The department, under Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, seized $16.3 million in 2016.
“Florida DME Program has set national standards and served as a role model for other states,” the report states. “In addition to being known for its progressive program, Florida’s DME Program is also noted for its specialized law enforcement training in the areas of aerial detection and indoor grow investigations.” Putnam will say that with pride.
With 71.3% of registered voters saying yes on Amendment 2, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner should recognize the shift in social attitudes and knowledge towards cannabis.
Adam Putnam has consistently opposed the expansion of marijuana use in Florida. In 2014, Putnam was a vocal critic of Amendment 2, urging voters to say no to the measure. Putnam trashed cannabis, calling marijuana a “gateway drug.”
“By partnering with local law enforcement to detect and destroy illegal marijuana grow operations, we’re making communities safer for Floridians and visitors,” Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam said.
“I am proud of our collaborative efforts with local law enforcement to destroy illegal marijuana grow operations and to keep Florida’s communities among the safest in the country,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
“Our partnership with local law enforcement helps keep marijuana out of our communities, making them safer for the 20 million residents who call Florida home,” Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam said.
Making communities safer has become the tag line for Adam Putnam. Meanwhile, he has been instrumental in the incarceration of thousands of Floridians for a victimless crime and destroying families across the state.
“Fear motivates prohibition in Florida. Not fear of harm to citizens, culture or even other crops. But, real fear of loss of power. Mr. Putnam and the people he really represents, do not want to share their power pie”… Steve Edmonds-CENTRAL FLORIDA POST
Steve Edwards, Central Florida Post, tells the story about Adam Putnam’s dismissiveness regarding hemp. It was at the Energy Conference in Orlando that Steve received Putnam’s take about hemp. It would be the first in a long line of consistent refusals to consider hemp as a viable crop for Florida.
- Influenced by federal players that do not particularly care for the idea of any form of marijuana.
- Unwilling to trade power for more money.
- The people he really represents, do not want to share their power pie.
Efforts to shut down grow houses in Florida go beyond local initiatives. This is when the Domestic Marijuana Eradication program comes into play.
“When you look at the number of counties where there is an issue, the fact that this is hooking our kids on illegal drugs, we want to have the emphasis made … at the highest levels,” said Putnam.
Federal money helps support the program, providing $500,000 last year which was spread out among local Florida law enforcement agencies.
“While we have two people specializing in it, when we take out a grow we send multiple detectives out because it’s a big process,” said Major JR Burton, the commander of the special investigations division with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Burton said his team is finding grow houses in residential neighborhoods and worries about other crimes connected with the grow operations. This includes home invasions. identity theft and murders. “So now you’re bringing violent crime into the equation – that frightens us and we’re going to do something to address that,” Burton said.
Black market cultivators say this isn’t likely. Major Burton is stretching the story beyond it’s truth. A large portion of black market players are everyday citizens. Typically, they are the folks in your neighborhood that are quiet, always maintain their property and certainly don’t look for trouble. “Identity theft and murders is something I never heard about in all the years I was a part of that community,” said one former black market grower. “The only home invasions were those conducted by law enforcement.”
For the DME, it’s about the numbers. More raids and home invasions equals more dollars for the state and cities via direct funding from the DME and property confiscations. That is why we see law enforcement groups using photos in our newspapers to let everyone know they cracked a major cannabis growing operation. They will always talk about how long the investigation has been, how many plants were destroyed, how sophisticated the growing operation was and how many were arrested. If there were any weapons, we will always read about it. Typically, they show us the cannabis that was destroyed with deputies posing beside it as if they just returned from a big game hunt.
“All that wasted organics and taxes, but at least they can still charge the tax payer $70,000 a year to house non-violent American plant users in ‘for profit’ private prison” ….
“The worst experience I’ve had with marijuana was spending 5 years in Federal Prison for a pot offense…Stop this nonsense. ”
but the GOP establishment candidate and the darling of big sugar and big utilities love him, which provide Mr. Putnam with a very long rope.
The real victims are transparency, truth, the integrity of Florida’s elections disclosure system and those who are arrested. Their lives are turned upside down because they committed a crime against themselves. According to Putnam and all the law enforcement across the state, it is always done to insure our communities are among the safest in the state.
A fifth-generation Floridian, Putnam grew up in Bartow, Florida. He attended the University of Florida, where he was a member and president of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. After graduating, he quickly started his political career.
Adam Putnam was elected to the state house at 22, just months after his graduation from college. Four years later, he became the youngest member of the US Congress in the famous “Hanging Chad” election of 2000.
In 2006, at the age of 32, supported by then speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert, Putnam became the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. The next year, again supported by the House Speaker, he became the Chairman of the House Republican Conference, where he served until 2009. His successor in this job was Vice-President Mike Pence.
These positions were the fourth and fifth most powerful positions in the caucus, and Putnam had spent almost four years in them by the time he was 35. Then, a combination of economic events, massive republican losses and the election of Barack Obama, placed Putnam in a frustrated minority.
Mr. Putnam returned to Florida getting elected to the Agriculture commissioner with a statewide vote of 55.9% in 2010 and reelected with 58.7% of the vote in 2014
Back to Dennis Hastert. Adam Putnam and Dennis Hastert were close. It was Hastert that elevated Putnam from obscurity in a chamber of 435 to the pinnacle of power. No name will be more tethered to Adam Putnam in the next two years than convicted child rapist and disgraced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Mr. Putnam tells us he is a businessman. A Farmer and cattleman. The Putnam family owns Putnam Groves in Bartow, but he can hardly call himself a citrus farmer or cattle rancher. Putnam has been in office since he was 22.
“I’m a farmer. I’m a citrus and cattleman. And I believe that’s the type of experience that has always infused my public service. I think that we are shaped by who we are and where we come from. And my roots are in agriculture, my roots are in land, my roots are in private property rights.”
Regarding the recently ended legislative session which failed to establish regulations for Amendment 2, Putnam said,
“It’s frustrating that the legislature finished without solving that problem. The voters overwhelmingly adopted a medical marijuana amendment. It’s important it be faithfully implemented.”
“It’s important to be narrowly implemented so that it doesn’t turn into a recreational piece, that we don’t turn Florida into California or Colorado. And I hope the legislature will do their work. It’s an appropriate issue for the elected officials to take on, not the bureaucrats.
“And my preference is that in doing so, they maintain the spirit of the constitutional amendment, but not allow it to be used as a camel’s nose under the tent for widespread de-facto recreational use of marijuana.” (A small, seemingly innocuous act or decision that will lead to much larger, more serious, and less desirable consequences in the future. The term refers to an alleged Arab proverb that if a camel gets its nose inside a tent, it will be impossible to prevent the rest of it from entering.)
Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam says the time is now for Florida to hold a special session on medical marijuana.
“I think that it’s important for the elected officials to have done their job during the regular session,” Putnam said. “Since they didn’t [do their job] I think that a special session is in order because I think that for a constitutional amendment’s implementation, it’s important for the elected officials to do it not the bureaucrats at the Department of Health.”
Adam Putnam’s net worth is reported at $8,281,108. Putnam’s salary is in the $128,000 range. Like his fellow cabinet members, he has increased in worth significantly. Last year, he reported a net worth of $7,849,959. His main source of income was $300,000 from citrus grower’s co-op Putnam Groves.
If you attempt to google “Successes of Adam Putnam,” there won’t be much. But then again, a matter of perception.
Election season has begun and others have announced their intentions to run for various positions. The Commissioner of Agriculture will complete his two-term limit in 2018.
Currently, four individuals are aspiring to fill Mr. Putnam’s spot.
Paul Paulson (R) – Orlando businessman and former lawyer Paul Paulson.
Republican state Sen. Denise Grimsley of Lake Placid. She served as Vice President and COO of her family business, Grimsley Oil Company, and is a fifth generation Floridian involved in the citrus and ranching industry. She is a member of the Peace River Valley and Highlands County Citrus Grower’s Associations and the Florida Cattlemen’s Association. Currently on the Senate Agriculture Committee and the chair of the General Government Appropriations Committee.
State Representative Matt Caldwell (R) a real-estate appraiser, was elected to the House in 2010 and has been a key player in recent years on issues such as funding for land conservation. He currently serves as chairman of the House Government Accountability Committee.
Michael Damian Christine (D) A University of Miami law student and political newcomer. Christine plans to start a petition drive for a state constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis and tax it to generate revenue for state programs. Mr. Christine has interesting aspirations. A fresh start with new ideas. We’ll find out more soon. Watch the announcement video here.
“We need to build up the declining agriculture industry by giving them a new cash crop — one with a proven track record of generating so much excess revenue that it can be used toward other neglected programs throughout the state like educational programs, environmental conservation programs, substance abuse programs and veteran’s assistance programs,” he says in his announcement video.
There is a growing number of candidates who have announced their candidacy for Governor of Florida.
Gwen Graham (D) – Representative
John Morgan (D) – Central Florida Trial Lawyer (Pending)
Richard Corcoran (R) – Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
Jack Latvala (R) – Senator
Andrew Gillum ( D) – Tallahassee Mayor
Chris King (D) – Winter Park businessman
Philip Levine (D) – Miami Beach Mayor (Expected to run)
Ron Bergeron (R) – Broward County developer, entrepreneur and conservationist
Floridamarijuana.net will continue providing information on issues relating to Amendment 2. We will do our best in keeping you informed of the political environment in the state as we move into 18 months of campaigning.
Our objective is to offer solid information which will help us all make our decisions on election day, 2018. The discussion to remove those that persist in their anti-cannabis position and prevent newcomers from entering without appropriate vetting has been had numerous times. It is common to read comments on articles calling for removal of politicians who are contrary to the legalization of cannabis in Florida.
If the 71.3% could come together in our support for specific candidates, the result would be monumental. 71.3% is a big number. Our time has come.