By Bryan Boggiano
The vote on the medical Marijuana Dispensary came after more than two hours of discussion, including presentations from Trulieve and the city, questions, and concerns from residents and meeting attendees, and comments from commissioners.
Residents who spoke out against the new facility, located at 10400 W Atlantic Blvd. in the Cypress Wood Plaza, came primarily from Glen Oaks and surrounding neighborhoods. While they were not all opposed to medical Marijuana, they expressed concerns about increased traffic.
Jill Seiffer, representing the Glen Oaks Homeowner’s Association, said the increased traffic could be dangerous for pedestrians, who regularly walk, jog, play, and walk their dogs because commuters could cut through the neighborhood from Riverside Drive or Atlantic Boulevard to avoid traffic lights.
Other residents expressed concerns about the Dispensary’s proximity to schools such as J.P. Taravella and another Dispensary, Fluent, about a mile from the proposed location, alleging –without providing evidence –that legalizing medicinal Marijuana would result in legalized recreational Marijuana and increased crime. They also spoke about “unsavory individuals” being near the neighborhood.
There was also concern over a house of worship in the plaza of the proposed location, but the city said that this is office space, and the property holds no services.
Despite the opposition, multiple meeting attendees spoke out about the benefits of medical Marijuana for those with medical conditions such as anxiety, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other preexisting conditions. Others expressed the need for options in the city since different dispensaries offer different treatments and strains of cannabis.
John Hyman, president, and CEO of Cannanumb, talked about how medical Marijuana improved the quality of life of his daughter, who has multiple preexisting conditions.
The commission expressed differing opinions about the Dispensary.
Commissioner Nancy Metayer, Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons, and Mayor Scott Brook did not believe the new location would cause safety issues or increase crime, condemning the “unsavory people” and “those people” remarks.
Commissioner Shawn Cerra expressed concern over the proposed location because it is near J.P. Taravella High. Increased traffic could be dangerous to residents and students walking home from school and about one mile from the other Dispensary. Carter expressed similar sentiments, saying that people could start cutting through the neighborhood from Riverside Drive or Atlantic Boulevard.
She discussed further traffic studies and one-way turn solutions. Trulieve agreed to conduct the studies.
The commission ultimately approved Trulieve’s proposed location 3-2. Metayer, Simmons, and Brook voted in favor, while Carter and Cerra opposed.
Trulieve estimates that as many as 3,000 people could depend on the Dispensary and have up to 180 patients per day.
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