Pubdate: Fri, 07 Nov 2014
Source: Florida Today (Melbourne, FL)
Copyright: 2014 Florida Today
Authors: Norman Moody and Rick Neale


Advocates of medical marijuana likely will regroup to continue the 
fight following its defeat in its first battle at the ballot box in Florida.

If they do, opponents no doubt will stand against it and communities, 
like Cocoa Beach will attempt to regulate it.

"I'm happy that it was defeated," said J.D. Collner of Cocoa. "It was 
a close call. It was not going to be a good thing for Florida."

The measure, Amendment 2, failed to reach the needed 60 percent of 
the votes. The yes votes was 58 percent to 42 percent for rejection.

Orlando attorney John Morgan, an advocate and strong financial 
supporter of Amendment 2, vowed to continue the fight for medical marijuana.

Collner, however, said he listened to what sheriffs around the state 
had to say about medical marijuana and believes that if legalized, it 
could lead to criminal activities by those who would take advantage 
of its availability.

"I'm basing that on what our sheriffs say," he said.

Collner, 76, said he believes that there are alternative for people 
who claim they need medical marijuana.

"I do believe there are prescription drugs that came make them more 
comfortable," he said.

Communities tried to prepare if the measure were approved by voters.

Cocoa Beach established two locations in the city where dispensaries 
could locate if the measure became law.

"I was just trying to put out a preventive strike if it were 
approved," said City Commissioner Skip Williams, who was reelected 
Tuesday to another four years. "It's on the books."

The Brevard County Commission discussed medical marijuana in July, 
then asked planning and zoning officials to research the topic. In 
August, the Grant-Valkaria Town Council unanimously approved an 
ordinance limiting medical marijuana dispensaries to industrially 
zoned areas along the U.S. 1 corridor.

Palm Shores leaders created a list of regulations for such facilities 
in July. This ordinance bans dispensaries within 2,500 feet of any 
pharmacy, school, medical office, daycare center, adult living 
facility, playground, religious institution, public park or 
residential structure.

On Nov. 18., the West Melbourne City Council will consider first 
reading of an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries 
and growing facilities.

Last week, the Melbourne Beach Town Commission adopted an ordinance 
that generally restricts medical marijuana dispensaries to the Ocean 
Avenue corridor from the Oak Street stoplight to the beach, Town 
Attorney Paul Gougelman said.

Melbourne Beach dispensaries must also be located 750 feet away from 
each other.

Though Amendment 2 failed, Gougelman said the 58 percent "yes" vote 
and the nationwide pro-pot trend provide ample reason for Brevard 
communities to take action now.

"Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states. Recreational marijuana is 
now legal in four states and the District of Columbia. Change comes 
slowly. But change is probably inevitable," Gougelman said.
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