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Medical marijuana in SWFL

(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

On Nov. 8, 2016, after fail- ing two years prior, the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative passed, legalizing medical marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases in Florida. In fact, the amendment passed with 71 percent of the population voting yes. Only 60 percent of the vote was needed in order for the law to pass, meaning an over- whelming majority of citizens voted in favor of medical marijuana.

Only one short month after the vote, Estero made its first move to prevent medical marijuana distribution.

The Village Council passed a one-year ordinance that called for the temporary ban of cannabis dispensaries, according to the Naples Daily News.

Now that the year-long ban is almost up, The Village Planning and Zoning Board is expected to review another ordinance that would ban the dispensing or cultivating of medical marijuana in Estero, according to the Naples Daily News.

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The argument in favor of the ordinance is based on an “optimal ratio” created by the Marijuana Policy Group which states that one cannabis dispensary per 67,222 residents is preferred for cities and counties in Florida.

According to the supporting argument, because Estero has less than the allotted number of  residents,there is no need for a dispensary. It seems to me like Estero is grappling for ways to reverse the amendment that passed, despite an overwhelming majority of support across the entire state.

This could be due to the fact that the entire Village Council is a group of baby boomers that no doubt has a conservative mind set.

Although FGCU is located right outside the boundaries of Estero, the passing of this ordinance will further prolong easy access to any possible medical marijuana dispensaries that could be built in the area.

But would this really affect life on campus in terms of marijuana? Probably not.

With FGCU being such a small school with a strict drug-free environment, compared to many bigger schools like Florida State University or University of Florida, nothing is likely to change.

According to the FGCU policy manual, the campus is committed to providing a campus environment free from the abuse, illegal use and possession of controlled substances.

In January through August alone, there were 87 different instances of marijuana or paraphernalia related issues on campus, according to the FGCU Police Department crime logs.

The passing of Amendment 2 by no means legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Florida, and it seems as though there is a long road ahead before steps like that are even taken.

But it would be logical to think that with the legalization of medical marijuana across the state, cities and towns would follow the wishes of their constituents, allowing access to the substance.

A statewide amendment that was passed is being undermined by local governments in order to gain control and keep strides toward a more open-minded community off limits.

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