By unanimous vote, Orange County will allow for future dispensaries to develop in “unincorporated” Orange County.  Talks of voting in favor of the ban began at the hearing October 31st where 73% of voters voted for medical cannabis.  The proposed ban sparked public outcry from patients, caregivers and advocates who came from all over the state of Florida to attend the meeting on November 14th to let their public testimony be heard as to why dispensaries should not be banned at this final hearing.

Mayor Theresa Jacobs and the county commissioners talked of the predicament the state has put on local “home rule” government municipalities when it comes to ensuring access to members or Orange County.  Commissioner Besty Vanderly explained that the decision falls on the Orange County Commission because of a “federal government epic fail”.  Worries about the impact on tourism by allowing dispensaries and the impact they would have on Orange County’s economy were a concern as well.

“Stigma, something that’s not factual is not right.  Department of Health should be making the rules not the home rule.” meaning local governments should not be put into the position of deciding whether patients will have access or not explained Commissioner Emily Bonilla.  Commissioner Pete Clark added that, “Zero people have shown up in favor of the ban. To not implement the law passed by the voters goes against everything I have been taught.  If it’s a medicine, treat it like a medicine.”

Mayor Jacobs being interviewed following the vote (credit Gary Stein)

Orange County will allow for further establishment of dispensaries thanks to their compassionate will to carry out the will of the in some areas “100%” of the will of their residents as stated by Vice Mayor Victoria Sipland.  The pleas of patients answered today should set precedent to what will happen in counties all over Florida when placing a ban on one’s constitutional right to medical cannabis in the great state of Florida.