Possible ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Collier County

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Paul Dolan

Anyone in Collier County with a prescription for medical marijuana will need to either get it filled by mail or drive to Lee County for their medication.

Commissioner Rick Locastro told WINK News, the board is not behind the medical dispensaries coming to the county. Rather than discuss changing land codes to allow them, they came to an agreement by voting unanimously to ban them.

The idea of medical marijuana dispensaries in Collier County was snuffed on Tuesday.

“There’s a liquor store in every corner, there’s a vape store, there’s a cover bar on every corner they’re all selling synthetic cannabis. We’re talking about medical dispensaries coming in and selling lab-tested medical products for people who are suffering from debilitating conditions,” Nick Garulay, the founder and CEO of My Florida Green, said.

Patients can get medically certified at Garulay’s company, My Florida Green.

My Florida Green showcasing a QR code to “Help us remove the ban in Collier County for patient access. CREDIT: WINK News

Chad Taylor got referred to My Florida Green about four years ago.

“It was a game changer. I sleep better than I ever have slept before, my anxiety is next to zero, and I just feel better,” Taylor said.

Those, among other reasons, are why Taylor and other medical marijuana advocates have mixed feelings about the county commissioner scrapping an ordinance that would allow dispensaries to operate in unincorporated parts of the county under the same zoning as a pharmacy.

“When people are suffering from debilitating conditions and saying well, it’s OK for you to go ahead and drive that extra 12 miles or whatever, well tell that to the person that’s putting their wheelchair in the back of their car, tell that to the dying cancer patient or some of the other people suffering from extreme anxiety or PTSD who can’t even leave the house,” Taylor said.

Patients in Collier County said leaders aren’t making it easy, but that was something commissioners considered.

A medical marijuana dispensary sign. CREDIT: WINK News

“That little extra convenience wasn’t enough, and it certainly didn’t lock anybody out who has a prescription. They have multiple ways to get it even locally,” Collier County commissioner, Rick LoCastro, said.

Medical marijuana advocates said the benefits are undeniable. Garulay and his team plan to address the board at the next meeting.

The commissioners will consider the ordinance ban in three weeks, on Feb. 14.

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