A father is on a mission to to help his 24-year-old veteran son find relief without turning to traditional pain medicine.
But right now, he has no access to medical marijuana in Collier County despite legalization in Florida.
Now, his goal is to convince elected leaders who are responsible for a decision in a few weeks.
Robert Popoff’s son Alexander served in the U.S. Air Force which left him with major back injuries.
“He’s just in chronic pain and really didn’t want to take opioids, and I’m very proud of him for that,” Robert said. “He saw the devastation that opioids have done to some of his friends.”
So doctors prescribed medical marijuana, both CBD oil and cannabis, for his severe pain.
The drastic change in Alexander’s health opened Robert’s eyes and now he’s taking a stand, saying it’s time to bring medical marijuana dispensaries to Collier County.
“This is why I tasked the commission and other speakers have tasked the County commission to go to the dispensaries to take a look to do some due diligence,” he said.
Robert believes when commissioners see how the dispensaries are run, they will see the benefits.
But Commissioner Andy Solis says it’s about more than benefits, he says the state needs to explain the process better, or make changes to the statue as it exists.
“Give us clarity as to how these dispensaries can be regulated where they can be located and things like that,” Solis said.
Until then, the Popoffs say a critical treatment is being kept from many who need it.
“It’s about a host of things, PTSD, more things then I can mention so it goes way beyond just our son,” Robert said.
Commissioners discuss the issue gain next month. More than 70 percent of Florida voters approved legalizing medical marijuana in 2016.