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.”