At Wednesday night’s meeting, Oakland Park Commissioners approved a moratorium on medical marijuana through Dec. 31, 2017.
During a public hearing on the first reading of the ordinance, commissioners discussed medical marijuana, listened to residents concerns and asked for advice from legal counsel.
In last November’s elections, Florida voters approved Amendment 2 allowing for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. In Oakland Park, 80 percent of registered voters approved -- above the 76 percent of Broward County voters and far exceeding the 60 percent required to amend the state’s constitution.
“The voters have spoken, that is clear,” said Commissioner Sara Guevrekian. “This is non-negotiable.”
Other factors, however, are negotiable and dependent on the state’s lead, said Commissioner Michael Carn.
“I would not feel comfortable giving permits without guidelines from the state,” Carn said, adding he felt like the issue was “letting a genie out of a bottle.”
Resident Jack Doren addressed the commission, disclosing a personal story of how marijuana alleviated nausea from his HIV medications.
“I found that one inhaling took away 95 percent of the nausea, within seconds,” Doren said. “I’m not exaggerating. So I personally know how effective this medicine can be.”
The Florida Department of Health is tasked with implementing regulations and committees will be working on just that when lawmakers return to Tallahassee for the start 2017 legislative session next month.
Oakland Park Mayor John Adornato III said the biggest problem is the “seed to sell” as any bank that is federally insured cannot process funds associated with marijuana. As far as dispensary zoning is concerned, Adornato said the city can claim “home rule” over the state.
Ultimately, commissioners approved the ordinance on a 3-2 vote, with Adornato and Vice Mayor Tim Lonergan dissenting. A 12-month moratorium is too long in Lonergan’s view.
“How would you like being sick for one day when you know there’s a way around it?” Lonergan asked his fellow commissioners.