These can be the headlines in Pinellas county within the next two years. Two cases of the virus have already been confirmed in Pinellas County.
Already major events are being cancelled, airlines are cancelling flights, cruise ships leaving Tampa and are losing more than half of their bookings and Pinellas tourism has started to tumble with no end to the free fall in sight. And what has ANYBODY done or even suggested to stop the freefall? Nothing. Not a word from the mouths of ANY of the politicians in Pinellas County.
Why? Because what can they really do to stop this or at least mitigate the damage heading our way? There is not much they can or will do.
However, as Sheriff of Pinellas County after the November elections, there IS something I can do.
I have already vowed to end ALL Cannabis enforcement in Pinellas County by the PCSO and block ALL agencies from booking anyone into the PCSO jail on a cannabis charge as well as immediately release all inmates held on only a cannabis or paraphernalia charge. Cannabis tourism has the potential to replace most, if not all of the tourists that we may lose. It is the ONLY action that can be taken that has the ability to bring more tourists to our area immediately that a) does not take forever to implement, and b) takes little to no county spending of tax dollars to put into place. As tourism drops to half of its current rates or more, cannabis tourism will cause many of those remaining travelers to select Pinellas County and our beaches over every other beach destination in Florida. It will also strongly appeal to many international travelers that would otherwise not even consider coming to Pinellas County. Couple that with the fresh “un-previously breathed air” flowing in from the Gulf and there is a lot we can offer to people that would have otherwise not considered Pinellas County.
We would literally be the only place in America to end all cannabis enforcement and that alone would bring us national media attention for free.
Colorado marijuana tourism is an excellent case study in this new frontier; because it legalized recreational back in 2012, marijuana tourism numbers for the state are finally starting to become available. According to the state department of tourism, Colorado cannabis tourism has grown by 51 percent since 2014. The most recent year that numbers are available is 2016; that year, the state saw 6.5 million cannabis tourists visit its ski slopes, mountain vistas, and dispensaries. Imagine the impact this can have on Pinellas County potentially saving us from the effect of the pandemic. However, we do not have 4-12 years to wait for the intentionally slow “legalization” process.
Additionally, the Pinellas County jail is a major breeding ground for ALL contagious diseases such has Hepatitis. Recently we had a Hepatitis A breakout in Pinellas County and then all of the sudden, you stopped hearing a word about that. The reason is that the outbreak is tied to the Pinellas County jail and the media has been silenced to support Sheriff Bob. Did you really think there were no more Hepatitis A cases here in Pinellas? People are jailed in conditions that create a breeding ground for any disease and then once infected, these people are released into the county population. We must STOP filling our jails with people over minor petty crimes, infecting them and then releasing them into our county. As Sheriff I will drastically reduce the number of arrests and inmates at the Pinellas County jail. What is Sheriff Gualtieri going to do when coronavirus hits the PCSO jail and his steady 3,500 inmates? Keep them all locked up indefinitely in quarantine while continuing to arrest over 100 more people every day?
I need your vote in December to help FREE PINELLAS, but also to help SAVE PINELLAS.
Vote James McLynas for Sheriff of Pinellas County