Orange County commissioner advises plan, should medical marijuana pass
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
Whether or not medical marijuana will be legal in Florida won't be known until after voters go to the polls in November, but Orange County leaders are already taking steps to prepare for it, should it happen.
In fact, Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards is asking Mayor Teresa Jacobs to address the issue at an upcoming meeting of the Orange County Commission.
"The amendment would have several direct impacts on county government if passed," said Edwards in a letter to Mayor Jacobs. "Passage would affect the county's zoning and permitting regulations which would have to be modified to accommodate newly legalized medical marijuana growers and distributors."
In the letter, Edwards also expressed concerns over sales tax collections and possible added expenses for law enforcement.
"I believe the Board of County Commissioners should have a general understanding of any impacts the amendment would have on local government, any zoning or land use or other regulations that should be implemented, as well as have a plan in place to comply with the measure should it pass this November," Edwards added.
Proponents of the amendment say medical marijuana could be prescribed to treat a number of diseases and conditions, such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.
Opponents say the amendment, as written, is too broad and makes it too easy for "storefront marijuana dispensaries" to sell to anyone. They say crime and traffic crashes are up in states that passed legislation legalizing marijuana. They also say teens would not need parental consent to get doctor's permission to have marijuana.
Nearly 9 out of 10 Floridians support the medical use of marijuana according to polling data released Monday by Quinnipiac University. The survey found 88 percent of Florida voters support allowing adults to use marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor prescribes it. Support is over 80 percent for all age groups. The poll also found 53 percent of voters support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of pot for personal use.