LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Marijuana ban based on flawed information

A Winter Garden resident believes a proposed ordinance that aims to ban medical marijuana retail dispensaries from Winter Garden's city limits cites a flawed study.
By: 
Jul. 19, 2017

Dear Editor:

The Winter Garden City Commission is on the verge of making Winter Garden look bad again. 

The commission has unanimously passed (with one absence) the first reading of a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries based on provably flawed information. Not only is the information flawed, but the commission was completely aware the information was flawed at the time of the vote.

The city claims in the ordinance that dispensaries may increase crime. This has been shown to be false by multiple independent, peer-reviewed studies. It also claims Winter Garden is not large enough to support a dispensary. This ignores the surrounding population, and it sets a terrible precedent for the city by dictating, not advising, to business owners which businesses are financially viable.

By overlooking the problems with the reasoning offered in this ordinance, the commission positions itself, and the entire city, as anti-science and willfully deceptive. This ordinance, as is, perpetuates an attitude of puritanism and turns a blind eye to those whose suffering could be easily alleviated.

More than 70% of Floridians voted for medical marijuana. The state government continues to do everything it can to thwart the will of the people regarding this issue and Winter Garden seems to be joining in that effort.

If there are valid reasons for instituting a ban, let the commission say so, and let the ordinance say so. But do not pass ordinances with false information in them. Do not codify ignorance and lies into our laws.

– Joseph Richardson, Winter Garden