Recreational Marijuana Ban in Sarasota Stopped Due to Wording Issue


Sarasota officials have been attempting to ban recreational marijuana before it is legal. But a wording issue on their amendment has put a stop to the ban.

Sarasota, Florida is an interesting city filled with amazing beaches. I have lived here most of my life and have seen the good, the bad, and the downright ridiculous. There are many things in this city that need to change, and one of those is the way Sarasota officials view marijuana.

Sarasota County Officials Attempt at Banning Recreational Marijuana

Earlier this week, the Sarasota County Commission started their attempt to ban recreational marijuana in Sarasota before it is even put to a vote. The committee met in May and put together an amendment that if put into effect, would ban the cultivation, processing, and sale of recreational marijuana. The reason for this amendment was to stop the process of recreational use before it began because the committee sees it as an unnecessary evil for Sarasota.

Commissioner Mike Moran has a lot of feelings about marijuana that are a little bit out of touch to put it lightly. Back in May, he said, “I feel pretty strongly that this medical marijuana is a Trojan horse for recreational and I’ve made my thoughts clear on that. Again, I appreciate the medical nature of cannabis and its benefits, but I do think there’s bigger play going on here.”

Because of this, everyone on the board agrees with Moran and want to ban recreational use. On Wednesday of this week, the County Commission met to finalize the details and to make their decision on the ban. There was a four-hour meeting to discuss the amendment and something was pointed out about the wording of the document.

While the amendment would ban the processing, cultivation, and selling of marijuana, the wording also would ban something that is already legal in Florida. The amendment's wording would have banned the use of all CBD and hemp products within city limits. CBD and hemp are legally sold over the counter in stores all over Sarasota and the rest of the United States.

A public speaker announced this issue to everyone which put the entire amendment on hold- for now.  The amendment will most likely be reworded and talked about at a later date but is being put off for now. Michelle Rhea, a Sarasota resident mentions that due to the wording of the recreational marijuana ban, CBD business would not be allowed to see their product.

Rhea said, “The implications of the ordinance would imply that those businesses would have to close up shop, because of the way it’s worded.”

Another Sarasota County resident Shelby Isaacson feels the same way. Isaacson is also the owner of a CBD shop called Second and Seed. Isaacson spoke the Herald Tribune about how badly this mistake would have affected so many people. “It would have been catastrophic for the community economically, as well as on a health-based availability perspective”, she said.

Banning CBD and Why is Marijuana a Problem?

From a personal perspective, I live in Sarasota and use CBD oil to help with my anxiety as well as my sciatic pain. It has really been a life changer for me and if it was banned, what would I do then? That would have been the question on many peoples minds due to a wording issue.

Isaacson’s store just opened in September but is already helping those who need CBD products. On her company’s website, it talks about how much she believes in CBD and what it is doing for so many people.

“Second and Seed is dedicated to sharing the healing properties of CBD as a part of a conscious lifestyle through education and quality products. We work intimately with the finest hemp growers in America from some of the largest farms in the country to guarantee that we provide the most impactful products to our customers. Our team has seen and felt the relief provided by full spectrum hemp extracts including CBD, from knee pain to chronic migraine syndrome and anxiety, we are all living our best life thanks to this extract.”

It is important that we have businesses like Second and Seed within this community to help prove that marijuana and marijuana-derived products are not the enemies. As someone who lives in Sarasota, it frustrates me that marijuana is a continuous problem in the eyes of the county. There are many issues within this town that need to be a priority instead of banning something that is not even going to happen for quite a while.

Recreational use is not even on the ballot yet even though John Morgan is hoping for it to be by 2020. However, that is two years away and not even a for sure thing. Instead of being fearful of things that may or may not come, and that is not dangerous, Sarasota County should be focusing on the bigger problems within this city.

What about the homeless epidemic that is taking over downtown? What about the opioid epidemic that is causing people to overdose left and right? Why is Moran so fearful of marijuana legalization?

When many states have been able to receive funding for fixing roads and educational programs one would think that marijuana legalization is not so terrifying. Sarasota County needs to focus on what’s important, not what the commissioner believes to be a ghost in the dark waiting to pounce at any minute. Marijuana is not the danger here, spending city resources on banning it when more important things need to be focused on is the danger.

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