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Libertarian Party petitions for medical marijuana dispensaries in Collier County

Posted: 6:33 PM, May 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-30 18:33:15-04

A political party frustrated with the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in one Southwest Florida county is fighting back. The Libertarian Party of Collier County has started online petition that they hope will pressure county leaders to allow the dispensaries, after Florida voters said yes to legalizing medical marijuana. 

"We are beyond frustrated," said Rob Tolp, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Collier County. "We are livid over this issue."

He believes that medical marijuana helps people with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

"My son-in-law being one, who is 100% disabled from PTSD," Tolp said. "I know from many of my friends, (medical marijuana) helps them greatly."

Last week, Collier County commissioners voted to ban dispensaries for the controversial drug - at least for now.

"It was almost a consensus that we would look at this again in 6 months, to see if the state has given us any additional information or guidance in this," said commissioner Penny Taylor.

The Collier Libertarian Party hopes their petition, on Change.org, will pressure the board of commissioners to take action sooner.

"To force them into bringing this issue up before six months, and ending the ban permanently," Tolp said.

Taylor said the county isn't denying access to medical marijuana completely, saying that it can still be delivered or purchased from dispensaries in neighboring Lee County.

"It's not as if we're saying it can't be sold in our county," she said. "We're not saying that. What we're saying is, we don't want dispensaries in our county."

Alex Popoff, a veteran who claims medical marijuana helps him with shooting pain from his sciatic nerve, wants commissioners to listen to Florida voters - 71% of whom were in favor of allowing it in Florida.

"People made their voices heard, and we're going to continue to make them heard," he said.

Commissioner Bill McDaniel is the only one out of five Collier commissioners who supports allowing dispensaries right away.

As of Wednesday evening, over 600 people had signed the online petition on Change.org.