Medical marijuana elusive in SWFL 1 year after legalization vote
FORT MYERS, Fla. More than a year after Florida voted to allow medical marijuana, access remains limited.
Trulieve plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary Tuesday at 13971 N. Cleveland Ave. in North Fort Myers. But a half-dozen Southwest Florida municipalities have banned them.
“It doesn’t make much sense to have a law to provide access to something if the powers that be now thwart the access,” said Terry Norberg, who was among the 71 percent of voters to approve the measure green-lighting medical marijuana in the state.
Barriers to the drug are plenty. Patients have to get a card that allows them to purchase it, and marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
Fort Myers City Council on Monday discussed the idea of issuing a moratorium on dispensaries, which would put the city in line with these places in Southwest Florida, which have already done so:
- Collier County (Banned runs through 2017)
- Charlotte County: (Ban runs indefinitely. County commissioners would have to vote to repeal it.)
- Bonita Springs (Ban runs through February 2018)
- Estero (Ban runs through November 2017)
- Punta Gorda: (Ban runs through July 2018)
- Sanibel (Ban runs through January 2018)
Doctors are allowed to prescribe cannabis, but without dispensaries, patients can’t fill those prescriptions.
“I don’t know why you would make it more difficult to access your prescription medication, said Dr. Dareld R. Morris II, a south Fort Myers primary care physician.
“If I’m writing you a prescription for vicodin or antibiotic or whatever else it may be, a seizure disorder for a child, there’s a Walgreens on every corner here in Lee County and Fort Myers.”
But on most corners, there’s no place that provides medical marijuana.