Letters to the Editor, Oct. 11

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon


As a physician here in Collier County, I have been alarmed by the misinformation circulating in the community regarding medical cannabis.

As an osteopathic physician, I am trained to take a more holistic approach when examining and diagnosing a patient with the understanding that all organ systems work together to create a balance and ultimately promote healing.

I have seen firsthand how medical cannabis has safely promoted healing in a multitude of serious medical conditions in my patients as well as helped them get off dangerous opioids and pain killers that caused horrific side effects.

There is a need here in Collier County for medical cannabis education, and I want to help with that. My practice, Green Balance Health and Wellness is hosting a free educational forum and I would like to invite everyone to come and learn more about the wide range of clinical applications that can be treated using medical cannabis.

There will be a panel of experts there to answer any questions and address any concerns people may have. We also have some exciting announcements specific to Marco Island. The event will be held on Oct. 24 at the Rose Hall Auditorium at the Marco Island Historical Society, 180 S Heathwood Dr, Marco Island. The event will begin at 6 p.m. (doors open at 5:30). Food and beverages will be provided. Call 239-919-8041 for more information. Please attend and learn how medical cannabis is changing lives. 

D.r J. Faremouth, Marco Island 

Marco – marijuana marketplace?

At this week’s meeting, city councilors discussed a proposed ordinance prohibiting the sale of recreational marijuana on Marco Island. Councilors Brechnitz, Reed and Roman supported exploring the ordinance. Unfortunately, the remaining four councilors, Grifoni, Honig, Young and Rios, opposed and prevailed.  Grifoni and Honig tried to defend their opposition. Their logic was, in my opinion, well … illogical:

Councilor Grifoni dramatically displayed three ordinary items, dog treats, hair serum and lip balm, stating that each contained CBD, a substance found in marijuana. He then announced that this ordinance would senselessly prohibit selling harmless items like these. 

Two missing facts. First, items containing CBD are permitted because CBD is not the mind-altering substance found in marijuana. Secondly, Grifoni accidentally destroyed his own argument by showing how easily CBD items could be exempted from the ordinance. His three CBD items were legally purchased on Marco despite Florida’s ban on recreational marijuana!

Councilor Honig’s argument correctly highlighted the fact that, because Florida prohibits recreational marijuana, this ordinance would probably only be effective if and when Florida reversed itself. Therefore, said Honig, this ordinance was “legislating against the hypothetical” and city resources should not be wasted shielding against things hypothetical.

Again, two missing facts. First, an activist group called “Regulate Florida”, dedicated to legalizing recreational marijuana, already claims having the requisite number of signed petitions, (over 700,000) to place the issue on next ballot. Secondly, the proposed ordinance is certainly not “legislating against the hypothetical”.  It is proactive legislation, a responsibility of government. Government doesn’t wait for destructive fires to happen before establishing a Fire Department; or for rampant crime waves before creating a law enforcement department; or for the destructive hurricane to arrive before ordering mandatory evacuation.

There’s a real possibility that Florida may soon legalize recreational marijuana. Having an anticipatory city ordinance in place prohibiting its sale on Marco would be proactive local government at its finest.   Grifoni and Honig are usually reasonably intelligent councilors, so please resist defining their opposition as “stupid” and simply call it “thoughtless.”

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Time to move on

I want to thank Marco Island City Councilors Jared Grifoni, Larry Honig, Victor Rios, and Sam Young for their votes during Monday’s meeting against the proposed ban on adult use cannabis. This is a difficult issue and the four councilors really handled the issue with facts and with impassioned positive debate.

Councilor Grifoni expertly laid out the issues from a legal perspective and highlighted the severe unintended consequences that would have occurred under the proposed language (like banning harmless CBD and hemp products and delivery to name a few).

Councilor Honig was correct in stating that this issue is simply not appropriate for the council to consider. Honig also said that the city government should not be in the business of managing moral hypotheticals and that a failure to ban doesn’t mean a vote of support. I couldn’t agree with him more! I also want to thank Councilor Rios for keeping an open mind and voting based on the facts, as well as Councilor Young for his support.

What did not surprise me was that the proposed ordinance (or ones like it from a PAC) will lead to lawsuits against the city that will cost the taxpayers a lot of wasted money only to see a ban overturned by a court. Highly respected attorney Scheril Murray Powell warned against making some of these similar mistakes that were overturned by courts in the state of Florida during her public comments. It’s time to move on and focus on other issues. Respectfully.

Alex Popoff, Marco Island