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Front Page » Top Stories » County probes impact of medical marijuana on farms

County probes impact of medical marijuana on farms

Written by on May 7, 2014

County commissioners want to know how legalizing medical marijuana in Florida would impact Miami-Dade’s farming areas.

Commissioners on Tuesday voted 12-1, Javier Souto dissenting, to direct Mayor Carlos Gimenez to conduct a study to assess the potential impact on the agricultural areas and report back within two months.

The action follows a vote Friday by Florida legislators to permit limited use of medical marijuana – allowing doctors to prescribe a special strain of “non-euphoric” marijuana for treatment of chronic epileptic seizures and some other severe illnesses. Gov. Rick Scott has said he will sign the bill into law.

Meanwhile, a constitutional amendment is planned for November’s Florida ballot by a public petition campaign that would allow doctors to prescribe regular marijuana for patients with severe disabilities.

The county resolution was sponsored by Dennis Moss, whose district includes agricultural lands in the south end of the county.

Mr. Moss said he is not taking a position on medical marijuana, but Miami-Dade has large agricultural areas and he wants the county to be prepared to deal with it from that standpoint, including security aspects of it.

The state bill authorizes designation of five dispensaries operating by established nursery owners, who would cultivate a special blend of marijuana under closely regulated conditions.

Mr. Moss indicated he also is wondering how new laws in Florida that would permit the use of medical marijuana could put the state or county at odds with federal laws banning marijuana and what the impacts might be.

“What happens if the state approves it, but it’s prohibited at the federal level?” he asked.

Mr. Souto, however, said it is too soon for the county to get involved in the issue. He also expressed concerns about the negative effects of marijuana and other narcotics.

“I think it is premature to jump into things,” Mr. Souto said. “Although [medical marijuana] has passed in other states, we’ve had enough problems” with narcotics in South Florida.

Marijuana “is a controlled substance,” he said. “We should think before getting into this.”

He recalled how, years ago, many people thought cocaine had little or no lasting effects on users, “but now we know what cocaine does.”

That and other drugs, he added, can “inflict tremendous suffering and tremendous complications for our society.”

Tuesday’s resolution cited recent polling that found that 57% to 82% of Florida voters supported the proposed medical marijuana state constitutional amendment.

The resolution also states that Miami-Dade’s agricultural industry employs more than 20,000 people and produces more than $2.7 billion a year in economic impact.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll on attitudes about marijuana found 88% of Florida voters favored allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor prescribes it. That included 84% of voters over age 65.

It also found that 53% of Florida voters supported allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

Only 45% of Florida voters admitted they’d tried marijuana. The highest use – 62% – was among voters ages 50 to 64.


3 Responses to County probes impact of medical marijuana on farms

  1. Me

    May 7, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    With all due respect to Mr. Souto, his responses and quotes stated here are not only vague, but elusive and dodgy. Years ago we didn’t know the impact of cocaine? really?! We are comparing cocaine to marijuana? Is this reality or a joke? The county better get on board, and act fast if they need to do anything to prepare for amendment 2. They need to realize that for too long patients suffering from debilitating conditions have had to result to treatment that was ineffective, or painful, or that caused horrible side effects. They’ve had to go out of state to obtain medical marijuana. County officials would be doing a direct disservice to its citizens if they are not ready to go come Jan 1 for amendment 2. Further delays = further suffering, inadequate treatment, and wasted tax revenue dollars that could seriously boost the county. I simply do not understand the hesitation and tippy-toeing around medical marijuana. It is already legal in 21 other states and DC. But here comes Florida officials using fed law as a shield from acting. So sad. So, if I understand Mr. Souto correctly, he is apprehensive that the feds will prosecute Florida officials or its citizens for crimes related to medical marijuana when they have done little or nothing in the other 21 states, or even the states where recreational is legal…laughable. Yes, the feds have acted, but very little and really only against those that were skirting the IRS or operating illegally even under their respective state laws. So, Miami-Dade, and Florida officials in general…are you going to wake up and smell the meds?!? Or just sit on your thrones idly…the choice is yours but know this, the incoming generation of voters will not be fooled, will not stand for inaction, and will not accept being a laughing stock of a state because of its government’s inefficacy. ACT NOW! VOTE YES ON AMENDMENT 2!

  2. Bryan

    May 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Anyone interested in the medical marihuana industry in Florida should be aware that the Florida Legislature has been quoted as saying they have NO interest in creating a new industry in Florida. The CBD bill allows only 5 growers who would also be sellers in the state. Also you would have to have a nursery license for 30 years. This means that they are creating marijuana monopolies and cutting out the smaller or medium entrepeneur. When Amendment 2 passes in November they will try to enact legislation LIMITING who can grow/sell again to only these MEGA farms. So much for competition and free market capitalism. The time is NOW to tell our lawmakers that this billion dollar industry needs to be spread among other responsible companies and persons, NOT just 5 farms !

  3. Bill McConnell

    June 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Governor Scott played GOP politics as usual when he signed the law for Medical Marijuana. The only approved nursery in Central Florida is owned by the guy who is Scotts’ chief of staff and located in Montecello FL
    Even the state health department asked for 200+ growers to meet the expected demand were shocked when they learned only Scotts cronies would get approved to participate.
    Comes down to Scott has got to go in November!