Collier, Charlotte counties block medical marijuana dispensaries

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. County commissioners in Collier and Charlotte counties voted Tuesday to keep out medical marijuana dispensaries.

Charlotte County commissioners voted 4-1 to institute a ban, while Collier County extended its ban until the end of the year by the same 4-1 margin.

Charlotte County’s ban comes with no expiration date — commissioners would have to vote to repeal it if they want to allow dispensaries in the county.

Decisions to allow medical marijuana dispensaries have caused controversy since Amendment 2 passed with 71 percent support statewide, legalizing broad medical use of the drug.

Sixty-four percent of Collier County voters supported Amendment 2, but the county imposed a temporary block shortly after the amendment’s passage.

Bonita Springs City Council members approved a six-month extension to a ban on dispensaries two weeks ago due to lack of information on regulations, officials said. The original ban was to last until Aug. 3.

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill in June that outlines how patients can qualify and receive medical marijuana.

The measure banned the smoking of medical marijuana, but trial lawyer John Morgan filed a lawsuit July 6 against that part of the bill. Morgan went live via Facebook from Tallahassee to discuss the matter.

Reporter:Andrea Henderson
Writer:Rachel Ravina
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