Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, but the Sunshine State also allows individual cities to ban cannabis dispensaries from operating in their jurisdictions. And one Southern Florida mayor has done just that, directing his constituents to the internet for their medications.
Mayor Harry Dressler of Tamarac - a small city near Miami - says Florida's medical marijuana program is "a gigantic scam." So he's opting to ban the implementation of cannabis dispensaries in his town. His words of advice for the patients that won't be able to access their medication without traveling to a neighboring city: try the internet.
"If you're looking for medical marijuana … you can get that stuff without a prescription on the Internet," Dressler said on Wednesday.
However, you can't legally buy medicinal cannabis in Florida without a doctor's recommendation. So Dressler basically endorsed the black market in his own backyard.
Unsurprisingly, some patients in Tamarac have blasted Mayor Dressler's ban.
"It's an outright lie to say this is a sham," said Bruce Vanaman - a cancer survivor who used cannabis as part of his recovery process. "Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people have gotten these recommendations from doctors. We need to let qualified people make these decisions, not politicians."
He added that Dressler is endangering the lives of patients by telling them to buy medication online without any input from a physician.
"I find that very dangerous for people to be recommended to go on the Internet and buy something on the Internet that they cannot verify themselves or have tested or have recommended by their doctor," Bruce Vanaman told the ABC-affiliate Local 10.
But Mayor Dressler stands by his conviction that cannabis storefronts are a ploy for unscrupulous drug dealers to peddle pot throughout Florida.
Dressler has admitted that this will leave out patients who require THC medications (the psychoactive part of cannabis, which is currently not regulated for online sales in Florida) and has voiced his support for home cultivation. Still, he holds by his decisions.
"I don't think for a second these dispensaries are intended to dispense medical marijuana—they're going to be weed shops."