Each week, we're asking each of the Pinellas County sheriff candidates a question that's important to you, the voter, so you can be informed come ballot time.
This week, we asked:
- What role should the Sheriff's Office have in shaping legislation related to prescription medication abuse and "legal highs" such as herbal incenses (i.e., K2, Spice and bath salts)?
Bob Gualtieri answers:
The Sheriff’s Office should, and we do have a major leadership role in partnership with the Pinellas Legislative Delegation, the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Attorney General and all other interested parties. While many entities are “stakeholders” in this issue, law enforcement and particularly the Sheriff’s Office operates at “ground zero” and we have the best view of what is likely to be effective in dealing with this problem. The Sheriff’s Office currently participates on committees and taskforces that seek to come up with viable recommendations for legislative consideration.
An issue currently under consideration is effective enforcement of the ban on the sale of synthetic marijuana. The Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law this year legislation outlawing certain chemicals contained in synthetic marijuana. However, the manufacturers are now altering the chemical make-up of the products and not putting the ingredients on the packaging, making enforcement very difficult. We will be working this year with local legislators to propose legislation that the packaging be required to list the chemical make-up of the contents so that we can determine if it contains a banned chemical and effectively enforce the law.
We have made great progress in addressing the prescription drug abuse epidemic and we will continue to work hard in addressing this problem, as well as addressing the newest issues with the synthetic drugs.
We're asking one more question before the sheriff's candidate debate on July 17 at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater Octagon Center, 2470 Nursery Road (6:30 p.m.).
Let us know what issue you'd like to hear about from the sheriff's candidates! You can either participate in the poll below to help us finalize our last question or suggest one of your own. We'll use your input to ask about issues you care about most.
The sheriff's candidate debate is free to attend, or you can watch Patch's live streaming coverage. It is sponsored by Patch, the National Armed Services & Law Enforcement Memorial Museum and Bay News 9.
Gualtieri on previous Patch Podiums: