The Sarasota County Commission on Monday decided to cap the number of licensed dispensaries at five. In citing “health, safety and morals,” the unanimous verdict may ultimately hit the county in the pocketbook.
SARASOTA — No matter which route takes you past 2864 Clark Road, you’ll pass any number of places where you can load up on beer or wine as you top off the tank, head home and spend the evening mitigating various insults and ailments with “daddy’s medicine.”
A century ago in another America, those retail outlets would’ve been banned and regarded as “detrimental to the health, safety, morals, order, comfort, convenience or appearance of the neighborhood.” But on Monday, Sarasota County Commissioners employed that language to reject the opening of a sixth medical marijuana dispensary at 2864.
READ MORE: See the latest news about cannabis and CBD in Sarasota-Manatee
Nursing fresh memories of the pill-mill epidemic that clogged Florida’s street corners a decade ago, Commissioners voted unanimously to prevent it from happening here again, even as the number of alcohol retailers jeopardizing health, safety, morals, etc., far outnumbered the constipation-inducing pill mills at the peak of the scandal and continue to endanger the appearance of Sarasota’s neighborhoods.
But watch how long the county’s ideas about health, safety, morals, etc., hold up when the potential tax windfalls start migrating elsewhere.
“This is all wrong — there aren’t enough shops as it is, and when you drop in, the lines are usually too long,” argues Sam Schneider, who retails CBD products from his Rocketman store in nearby Gulf Gate but has to make a 20-minute drive to Fruitville Road to get his medical THC from the MUV dispensary.
“They’re interfering with the free market. They’re causing a lot of people to waste time, pay higher prices, and they’re going to lose