Marco Island Council amends ordinance banning recreational marijuana to fix 'deficiencies'

Marco Island City Council has clarified an ordinance voters adopted in August that prohibits the cultivation, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and sale of recreational marijuana within city limits.

An amendment approved unanimously and without discussion at Monday's Council meeting clarifies the definition of medical marijuana and excludes "medical marijuana devices" from the prohibition.

The amendment also restores part of the city's codes that allows "miscellaneous stores" to operate on the island but specifically excludes recreational marijuana shops.

City attorney Alen Gabriel said during a Sept. 21 Council meeting the amendments were necessary to "correct deficiencies" of the original ordinance.

The ordinance received 4,043 votes, or 68.9%, in favor compared to 1,824 votes, or 31.1%, against it, according to official referendum results.

The ordinance excluded any hemp-derived products, including CBD products, containing 0.3% or less of THC. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a nonintoxicating ingredient found in cannabis and hemp. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive component in marijuana. 

From August:Marco Islanders vote 'yes' to prohibit recreational marijuana within city limits

And:No response from Columbia Care as Marco Island medical marijuana patients wait for dispensary

City Council passed the amendment on first reading Sept. 21.

City Councilor Howard Reed said at the time that the referendum was important even though recreational marijuana already is illegal in Florida.

"If Florida should ever approve recreational marijuana, I have a feeling that the vote that was taken this year will still be representative of how the citizens of Marco Island feel about this topic," he said.

"I think it would be naive to think that it won't be legal sometime soon." 

In August, Edgar "Ed" Issler, chairman of the Ban Recreational Marijuana PAC, said the voters sent the message that they want to keep the sale of recreational marijuana off the island. The PAC collected enough signatures from registered voters to put the item on the ballot.

"If it becomes legal in the state, Marco Islanders will be able to buy it outside of Marco," he said at the time.

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