Cocoa Beach: There’s Facts And Research, And Then There Are The Lies Commissioners Told.

As we expected, the second reading of the marijuana ordinance passed Thursday night in Cocoa Beach.

One of the things that struck us was how Mayor Malik, and Commissioners Miller and Martinez kept saying “we’ve done the research and we know we are right.”

Let’s examine some of their claims.

1) All three men claimed that a felony conviction for marijuana possession ruins lives. That was one of Malik’s main points – he didn’t feel that a felony conviction for possession was right.

In berating others to “do their homework” as they had done, the three men missed something important:

In the State of Florida, possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor – not a felony.

Florida Statute 893.13

(6)(b) If the offense is the possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis, as defined in this chapter, the person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. As used in this subsection, the term “cannabis” does not include the resin extracted from the plants of the genus Cannabis, or any compound manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin. (emphasis ours)

Strike one.

2) Martinez said that he had coached kids who couldn’t join the military because of a conviction. That may be true. What Martinez failed to mention is that the military asks about drug and alcohol use.

The information doesn’t have to appear on a rap sheet. The military expects recruits to answer questions on drug use truthfully.

Your recruiter will ask you a series of questions related to drug and alcohol use in your past. If you lie and the military finds out about it later, they have the power to send you packing with a dishonorable discharge or worse. As a service member, you fall under the rules and regulations of the military and they can be pretty harsh. On the other hand, if you tell the recruiter your past use in vivid detail, you might be disqualified from joining the military. If your past drug or alcohol use was very casual, you can probably get a waiver and be allowed to join. The best way to approach this is to be honest.

Drug and alcohol disqualifications are largely determined by two urinalysis tests that you will take when you join the military. The first test will take place at the induction station and the second will occur when you report to boot camp.

Alcohol or drug dependence and any evidence of this in your physical exam will get you disqualified from joining the military. These clear-cut cases are not the most common. Non-dependent drug use is more common and less clearly definable. The military would prefer that none of their service members used alcohol or did any drugs in the past, but that is not a reality. The military is more lenient towards alcohol use and soft drugs like marijuana than it is towards hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Steroids are also on the list of drugs that you will be tested for and could cause you to be disqualified.

In addition, the Army is granting waivers for drug use and prior bad conduct (even convictions for prior drug use):

Under the gun to increase the size of the force, the Army is issuing more waivers for past drug use or bad conduct by recruits, and pouring an extra $200 million into bonuses this year to attract and retain soldiers.

According to data obtained by The Associated Press, nearly one-third of all the waivers granted by the Army in the first six months of this fiscal year were for conduct and drug problems, mainly involving marijuana use. That number is significantly higher than the other three military services, and represents a steady increase over the past three years.

Therefore, despite Martinez’s “research,” a conviction for a felony misdemeanor is not an automatic disqualifier for military service.

(And if you are wondering, the military uses whether a recruit has used illicit drugs as an indicator of how well a recruit will follow orders. Whether you agree with the thinking or not, the military rationalization is that a recruit that did not follow civilian laws is less likely to follow more restrictive military orders.)

No matter what, Martinez got the information wrong.

Strike two.

3) Miller said his research shows that the effects of tobacco and alcohol are much worse than that of using marijuana.

The research is mixed as far a short term concerns go, but long term studies conducted over the past 30 years indicate that the effects of marijuana on the body are equivalent or worse than that of the tobacco.

Studies show that regular users (people smoking several times a week) have twice the rate of schizophrenia and other disorders, says Dr. Sack. Marijuana use also increases the number of manic episodes in those with bipolar disorder, and may increase the risk for depression, he says.

Marijuana also has persistent effects on one’s cognition, so that even when a person is not acutely intoxicated, they may have difficulties with concentration, attention and recall, and they may be more irritable, hostile and increasingly alienated, Sack explains.

Additionally, marijuana use can cause hormonal changes in men that can result in gynecomastia (enlarged breasts) and in decreased sperm motility that can lead to infertility.

Smoking pot has a lot of the same effects of cigarettes like bronchitis, chronic cough and lower immune response, according to Kabalka.

There is also evidence that use of marijuana more than 50 times in a life time increases the occurrence of testicular cancer in men by a large factor.

So much for Miller’s research.

To be fair, there is a lot of contradictory evidence and studies as to the health effects of marijuana as compared to tobacco. For that reason, we’ll call this a foul ball. It’s still a strike, but because these men already have two strikes, these “Commission researchers” are still batting.

However, we are still talking about degrees of danger. For Miller to say there is no health risk is just not true.

(It should also be noted that long term studies are somewhat flawed in that the active ingredient in marijuana (THC) is at least 10 times stronger now than in the 1980’s. We know the physical effects of marijuana on the body are not positive long term, but we don’t know the depth the effects today’s stronger pot has long term. It is guaranteed to be worse than the long term effects from the 1980’s until now.)

4) Trying to clean up the mess was Malik who kept saying “have you talked to people in these cities, because I have….”

No one knows what questions he asked but one of the cities he talked to was in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legalized.

When the drug was legalized, the Colorado legislature mandated that the state keep records of the effects of the legalization had on society. Each year, since 2013, the State publishes a document called “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado – The Impact.”

This is from the 2018 document:

Section I: Traffic Fatalities & Impaired Driving

  • Since recreational marijuana was legalized, marijuana related traffic deaths increased 151 percent while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 35 percent
  • Since recreational marijuana was legalized, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people killed in 2017.
  • This equates to one person killed every 2½ days compared to one person killed every 6½ days.
  • The percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related increased from 11.43 percent in 2013 to 21.3 percent in 2017.

Section II: Marijuana Use

  • Colorado past month marijuana use shows a 45 percent increase in comparing the three year average prior to recreational marijuana being legalized to the three years after legalization.
  • Colorado past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older is ranked 3rd in the nation and is 85 percent higher than the national average.

(Editor’s note: The increase in marijuana use by teens has not gone up as much as many predicted, but it has still increased.)

Section III: Public Health

  • The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 52 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
  • The yearly rate of marijuana related hospitalizations increased 148 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana. (2012 compared to 2016)
  • Marijuana only exposures more than tripled in the five year average (2013-2017) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the five year average (2008-2012) prior to legalization.

Section IV: Black Market

RMHIDTA Colorado Task Forces (10) conducted 144 investigations of black market marijuana in Colorado resulting in:

  • 239 felony arrests
  • 7.3 tons of marijuana seized
  • 43,949 marijuana plants seized
  • 24 different states the marijuana was destined
  • The number of highway seizures of Colorado marijuana increased 39 percent from an average of 242 seizures (2009-2012) to an average of 336 seizures (2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.
  • Seizures of Colorado marijuana in the U.S. mail system has increased 1,042 percent from an average of 52 parcels (2009-2012) to an average of 594 parcels (2013-2017) during the time recreational marijuana has been legal.

Section V: Societal Impact

  • Marijuana tax revenue represent approximately nine tenths of one percent of Colorado’s FY 2017 budget.
  • Violent crime increased 18.6 percent and property crime increased 8.3 percent in Colorado since 2013.
  • 65 percent of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and recreational marijuana businesses.

Of particular interest to us is the increase in traffic fatalities and the increase in crime.

One can only speculate how the crime rate with a lesser penalty for possession will translate for Cocoa Beach. However, we are quite concerned that the lessened penalty for possession will increase driving under the influence by tourists who are traveling unfamiliar city streets.

Yet the Mayor claimed that according to his research, Colorado was a success.

He continued to mention a town in Alaska where lessening the penalties as he was proposing for Cocoa Beach was a success. We can’t figure out what penalties in Alaska and Colorado would have imposed for possession given the fact that the states legalized recreational marijuana. How could there be a “penalty” if possession was not against the law?

Yet that’s the type of “homework” he had done and was proud of.

We call it something different.

We call it strike three.

As far as we are concerned, the “research” these three men – Malik, Miller and Martinez – claimed they had done was worse than admitting to having done no research at all. At least then they could have claimed ignorance.

Now, all that has happened is they have proven they lied to the people of Cocoa Beach.

8 Responses to “Cocoa Beach: There’s Facts And Research, And Then There Are The Lies Commissioners Told.”

  1. Sandy says:

    Thanks for refuting their fake facts again. It’s well known to long timers in CB that some of their big money donors have decades of drug dealing and abuse. Their kids have also struggled with hard core drug addictions.
    Malik is always about what and who he “knows” and nobody is smarter than him, including our Sheriff or Police Chief, and certainly not the families who’ve been torn apart by drugs. What could they or the local Pastor, who counsels and sometimes has to bury them, possibly know?
    On that note, Craig Harriman’s unhinged personal attack on the Capizzi family was beyond the pale. He not only attacked them but the entire congregation of Club Zion, who has done a ton of good for our community. This is the same unstable guy who has been at commission meetings in the past decrying the drug problem in the downtown but now it sounds like he’s all for it.
    Did you get the Beachside Resident (owned by Harriman) in the mail this week? Maybe it’s time to contact some of it’s advertisers.

    • AAfterwit says:


      What we found interesting is that while the Council can’t stop Harriman’s rant against the people that were there, the Mayor – who asked that people be civil in disagreement – never said a word about it. That left us with the impression that if you disagree with the Mayor, he wants you to be civil. If you agree with him, go after whomever you want in an uncivil manner and he will support you.

      Wasn’t Harriman the person who declared us to be “terrorists” because we wrote about Cocoa Beach and disagreed with positions he held?

      We didn’t realize that having different opinions made one a “terrorist.” (Which goes to show the depth of some people’s thinking, in our opinion.)

      A. Afterwit.

      • Sandy says:

        Yep, Harriman is the same guy who called you guys terrorists. I seem to recall there were some elderly citizens also labeled as such by Harriman in same rant.
        We’ve seen this scenario play out time and again. Malik makes a big statement at the beginning about civility and then sits there with his hands folded when crazy Harriman goes on the attack, turning around to direct his comments at the audience, including singling out women. Feckless Malik never utters a peep. Everyone knows he’s nothing but a spineless shill, a puppet for the hoteliers, developers and Ron Jon’s Corp.

        • AAfterwit says:


          Thanks for the comment.

          It is said that you are known by the friends you keep and the enemies you have. With Harriman against us, we are happy with that.

          A. Afterwit.

  2. Percy Veer says:

    Unfortunately, this gang of three has once again shown that they are not critical thinkers and choose to mislead and misrepresent “facts” to push their own personal agenda to destroy our small family and tourist friendly town in favor of the almighty $$$. They mislead residents with the building height changes, and now the LDC planned developments, and the marijuana laws. Don’t be fooled, if we don’t boot these guys out and elect folks who care more about the people who live here instead of the business community CB will just become another ugly overcrowded beachside community.

  3. Watching says:

    I have no idea what those 3 were thinking. A pastor, a police chief and a retired prinicipal are all held to higher standards in a community. They were on point and well spoken. They were flat ignored. I don’t know what is driving this pointless ordinance, but it certainly isn’t the public. The message is deplorable. That young teen girl that spoke just got the message…”we’ll forgive you, in case you decide to spark one up and get caught.” How about….just don’t do it. Sad day for CB.

    • CBer says:

      You forgot to mention that the Brevard County Sherriff was also against this proposal. But, like you said what do these experts who deal with the aftermath of this stuff on a daily basis know, in the warped thinking of three of our city commissioners, not much I guess. How sad.

      • Frances says:

        Okay folks, get your rear in gear…..

        Head for Google on your computer and look up the S 182 law that the Florida legislators passed last Friday. Appears that the governor threatened them and that got them moving on the bill that they should have passed a year ago.

        Well, when you read through it or just go to the 2/21/19 amendment; analysis of the bill, you can see where Florida is heading with abuse of medical marijuana.

        Our Tallahassee representatives not only lifted the ban on smoking medical marijuana they took the opportunity to INCLUDE THIRD PARTY participants / sub-contractors who can also provide certain devices and supplies at locations other than a primary Medical Marijuana Treatment Center/ Clinic.

        So now we can assume the WHY our city leaders voted as they did. Please do your own research on this bill and you will read that about almost everybody that spoke at the city commission meeting presented documented ‘facts’, however, I never heard anything about BUDGET issues. Who’s paying for all those pink slip ‘citations’ and who will suffer when they do return to work at PAFB, CCAFS and KSC receive a REAL PINK SLIP!