Marco Island votes on medical marijuana dispensaries

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Medical marijuana. (Credit: News Service of Florida)
Medical marijuana. (Credit: News Service of Florida)

Does access to medical marijuana lead to a spike in crime in the area? That is the fear some people cite as their reason to oppose medical dispensaries from opening on Marco Island. But on Monday evening, city leaders have the final say.

If approved, the dispensaries would be allowed within Marco Island with the same regulations as pharmacies and will go into effect Monday.

Lil Bardon said it is a perception that medical marijuana causes spikes in crime in an area, not a reality and people need to understand that.

“I don’t think that’s the way it works,” Bardon said. “I think that people who use it will be people who have medical issues.”

Bardon believes people have a stigma about medical marijuana, leading them to find reasons not to have it.

Charles Kracht agrees that there is nothing to worry about.

“It’s monitored and people who need it have to have doctor’s prescription,” Kracht said. “If the police do their job, no it won’t have any effect.”

But dispensaries in Collier County are a hot topic. Penny Taylor, a Collier County commissioner, voted against them in the past. She said dispensaries need more control.

“It could turn into a slippery slope,” Taylor said. “But the other aspect is we were not given any home rule power on where these dispensaries are going to go.”

We pulled numbers from Lee County for calls to service around two dispensaries there. Since Trulieve opened in November 2017, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said deputies made one call for assistance.

At Curaleaf, over the last year, deputies have made three stops for service.

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