News Update

No Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in WP

News Update

On June 9, 2017, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 8A (SB 8A), the Medical Use of Marijuana Act, designed to establish regulations for the implementation of Amendment 2, which allows the sale of medical cannabis in the state of Florida.

Political Banana Peel

In what Commissioner Peter Weldon called a “political banana peel thrown under our feet,” the law makes county and municipal governments choose. Either they must treat medical marijuana dispensaries exactly the same way they treat pharmacies or they must ban them altogether.

Dispensaries Banned – For Now

On Monday, July 24, the Commission voted 4-1 to pass an ordinance banning medical cannabis dispensaries from the City of Winter Park. Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel cast the dissenting vote.

Medical Marijuana Supporters Seek to Overturn Law

Meanwhile, proponents of medical marijuana dispensaries are asking the courts to overturn the state law. If they are successful, adoption of the City ordinance automatically establishes a one-year moratorium, which would give the City time to understand the impact of the court ruling and to devise an alternative ordinance that would be in full compliance.

Editor’s Note: Readers wishing to comment on this latest development should scroll to the end of the full story and click the Comment link there.

Will of the Voters – Up In Smoke?

State Rules Restrict Medical Marijuana in FL Cities

July 26, 2017 / by Anne Mooney

At a special work session July 25, the Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Board moved to request the Commission enact an ordinance “to prohibit medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities within the boundaries of the city . . . .”

If the Commission passes it, this ordinance will repeal and replace a 2014 ordinance, No. 2981-14, which would have permitted dispensaries of non-euphoric medical cannabis in limited industrial and warehouse districts within the city.

Winter Park is among 88 municipalities and four counties (Osceola, Sumpter, Hernando and Columbia) considering prohibitions, moratoriums or other restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Voters Want Medical Cannabis

On the November 8, 2016, ballot, Florida voters approved the Florida Medical Marijuana Legislation Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, with a decisive 71.3 percent of the vote. The measure went into effect January 3, 2017. The state legislature, however, neglected to establish the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of Amendment 2 during their regular session.

House Speaker Wants to Make the Rules

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, however, objected to ceding power for making rules for implementation to the Florida Department of Health and called for a special legislative session to address medical marijuana legislation. “To just leave it to bureaucrats sitting over at the Department of Health,” he said, “I think would be a gross injustice.”

Gov. Scott: ‘Okay, Make the Rules’

On June 2, Governor Rick Scott called for a special session June 7 through June 9. He issued a statement, “Medical marijuana was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in 2016, and I believe that it is the role of the Florida Legislature to determine how to best implement this approved constitutional amendment. I am glad that both the Florida Senate and House are moving toward crafting legislation to help patients, and I have added medical marijuana to the call for special session.”

Senate Writes the Rules . . .

On June 9, 2017, the Florida State Legislature passed Senate Bill 8A (SB 8A), the Medical Use of Marijuana Act, designed to establish regulations for the implementation of Amendment 2.

SB 8A defined the medical conditions that qualified a patient for medical marijuana. It placed a cap on the number of retail dispensaries and medical marijuana treatment centers until April 1, 2020. It banned smoking medical marijuana. It banned doctors with a financial interest in marijuana growing or testing facilities from prescribing marijuana. It levied no tax on medical marijuana.

Locals Implement the Rules . . .or Not

The law also gave local county and municipal governments a choice. Either they can regulate medical marijuana dispensaries exactly the same way they regulate pharmacies . . . or they can ban them.

In short, the only way to regulate them is to ban them completely.

Commission to Decide at July 24 Meeting.

  • author's avatar

    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

  • author's avatar

13 replies
  1. Dope? says:

    When you go to the drug store to get your prescription filled, did you ever look behind the counter and see all the drugs they have back there? Did you ever walk into a liquor store or a bar or restaurant and see all the kinds of booze they have? Ever walk into a grocery store and see all the kinds of fruits and vegetables they have for sale? Ever see all the cigarettes they have when you stop in a gas station mart to buy your gas?

    So, what’s the difference?


    That’s what Florida voters, by a super majority, already figured out.

    If commissioners are going to vote to keep medical marijuana out of Winter Park, they might as well ban everything else behind the register at the drug store, the liquor store, the convenience store, the restaurant, and the grocery store.

    Instead of making new ordinances, how about repealing the stupid ones already on the books? Hard for police to be out catching burglars when you’ve got ’em arresting old ladies for reading their Bible on the public sidewalk.

  2. Follow The Money says:

    Hospital is pushing commissioners hard to ban. Hospital hates competition. Hospital lobbied hard against legalization at the state level and lost.

    The local ban option was legislature’s “bone” tossed to hospital industry that funds their campaigns.

    Lots of trips to hospital can be avoided with medical marijuana. Lots. $$$. Medical marijuana is said to stop seizures and other medical emergencies in their tracks.

    Whom do our commissioners work for?

    • Colombian Gold says:

      Anyone who thinks for one minute that getting a prescription is going to be even semi tough is overly optimistic. You really think only cancer patients and epilepsy sufferers etc are going to be getting scripts? ….And I suppose there’s no epidemic of welfare and disability fraud either, right?

      Take a look at the Florida doctors who were chosen as the allowed prescribers. I did when it came out. Many of them were NOT EVEN CURRENTLY PRACTICING when they applied. Let that sink in….Come out of retirement or wherever they have been for the sole purpose of being an authorized pot prescriber. Wonder why? …. $$$$$.

      Wonder why only a few farmers received grow licenses and only a few pharmacies can dispense?

      Got to control that supply in order to control the prices$$$$$$!!!!.

      Folks…. It’s either a dangerous substance or it’s not. Since most people say it’s not ….then let’s just make it generally legal with some restrictions… like alcohol.

      Oh wait, if we can grow our own weed and anybody with a green thumb can make a living selling it, prices will PLUMMET….then nobody connected politically to the regulation controllers will be making $$$.

      Mark my words, this is going to be like the “pill mills”. Medicaid Medicare fraud galore. Work Comp too. “My back got hurt at work. My workers comp injury covers my weed habit now, I’m gonna stay sore forever. Score!”

      Instead of the pill mill we can call it the “pot” of gold under the “connected” rainbow.

      Whatever happens with medical marijuana, keep it out of Winter Park. I don’t want a bunch of lazy snowflakes (feigning a disability as their chosen career path) having a drum circle in Central Park—– after filling their scripts in our formerly classy downtown.

  3. No Health Care For YOU! says:

    If approved Monday, it means commissioners will have taken away Winter Park residents’ local access to health care they or a family member may need now or some day in the future.

  4. Tradition says:

    They will have to ban it in Winter Park. Just like their predecessors banned women from driving, voting, and showing their knees in public. And just like they banned the mixing of the races in restrooms, lunch counters, and drinking fountains. And just like they prohibited the sale of alcohol. And on and on it goes.

    Outlawing what almost everyone wants to be legal seems to be the only historic thing left in Winter Park.

  5. Step Right Up says:

    Weldon also said there is one on Orange Avenue in Orlando. If so, Winter Park residents with their prescription can hop aboard SunRail for the short ride south, and then walk the few remaining blocks to the dispensary. No different than if it was on Park Avenue, except for the cost of riding the SunRail (and the 10 minute ride each way).

    Getting more residents to ride SunRail may be precisely why Leary voted to ban the sale in Winter Park. His vote also assures him support by the local GOP for his 2018 re-election bid. (And, we can assume, Leary is perfectly capable of finding his own way to Orange Avenue).

  6. Moratorium says:

    How come Winter Park approves a moratorium on selling a thimble full of marijuana to someone who has a doctor’s prescription for it, but not a moratorium on building any more 50,000 sq. ft. buildings?

  7. Brain Child says:

    I could use medical marijuana to cope with the 3 clowns on city council, and the circus they create to justify their poor judgment. It would also come in handy as a salve to calm down my road rage when sitting in gridlock traffic every day that the 3 amigos blame on cross city traffic from Oviedo.

    If we used the money we pay consultants to parade development projects and now parking garages on medical marijuana, the whole town would be happier.

    Why not introduce a jobs building business in Winter Park instead of squeezing another mixed use tower for the next 2500 people to live in.

  8. Prohibition says:

    Prohibition didn’t work so well in the 1920’s. It hasn’t worked in the so-called “war on drugs.” So what makes Winter Park politicians think it will work any better today?

    Notice how commissioners didn’t make illegal any campaign contributions from medical marijuana businesses to Winter Park City Commissioners though.

    So who runs Winter Park? The residents? The developers? Or the gangsters?

    Here’s a short little film about prohibition. All Winter Park politicians did Monday was line the pockets of the medical marijuana businesses just across the city limits in Orlando. A shady back room deal? You be the judge.

  9. Gar Vance says:

    Close minded people (including our local commissioners and other state governmental legislators) are overriding the will of the Florida voters by continuing to put up road blocks for citizens to legally purchase and use medical marijuana products. Perhaps it’s time to vote out the conservatives and fill their slots with more moderate or even liberal commissioners.

    Marijuana is not a schedule 1 drug and should have never been listed with heroin and other serious drugs. Marijuana is no more a “gateway drug” than alcohol…some people just have an addictive personality and will try any drug. For many people, marijuana is an alternative to drinking a few beers or having a couple glasses of wine. As a 30 year employee at various colleges and universities, alcohol has been behind almost ALL problems on campuses across the country from fist fights, date rapes, vandalism, alcohol poisoning and even death from over-consumption. Regarding the problems of “over consumption,” marijuana beats alcohol hands down! Heinous behaviors common with alcohol abuse simply do not happen when people use marijuana products!

    I say give people with medical problems a choice between opioids (or pharmaceuticals in general) and marijuana products (especially those with high CBD properties.) A year and a half after undergoing surgery for cancer, I am still undergoing treatments and would easily choose a natural herb product over pharmaceutical drugs ANY day! For those who are close-minded or “inexperienced” with positive aspects of marijuana usage, I say “Shut the hell up!”

    71% of Florida voters passed the medical marijuana bill, so legalize it, tax it and move on. I won’t go into depth regarding all of the hurdles the Florida legislators have already put in place to make it difficult to even buy medical marijuana. I was told that it costs $275 every year for a medical marijuana card, takes 90 days before you can even get a card and the current products (at the few dispensaries that are open) are very limited and pretty expensive.

    From the experiences I have had with marijuana since the 70s, all have been fun, funny and positive. At this point in my life, it’s not about “getting high”…it’s about pain relief, relaxation and the ability to sleep throughout the night. I want an alternative to pharmaceuticals, as I have found that their side effects are terrible. Given a choice, I would choose marijuana, however we still have to battle against close-minded people! It’s time we stand up and fight against the 29% of conservatives who are doing a damn good job of imposing their beliefs over 71% of the Florida voters!

  10. Please Turn On The Lights! says:

    Why no audio file of Monday’s Commissioners Budget Workshop posted on City website yet? Commissioners back to their old tricks?


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