Residents, business owners angered over possible marijuana dispensary near Fort Lauderdale

Commissioners to vote on issue March 14

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Florida voters gave the green light to medical marijuana in November, and now there's talk of opening up one of the first dispensaries near Jay Smith's car stereo business near Fort Lauderdale.

"I just think they need to listen to people in this area," Smith told Local 10 News. "These are people who have homes here, families (and) do business here."

The area on the edge of Boulevard Gardens, between Northwest 27th Avenue and 31st Avenue, north of Broward Boulevard, is one of several unincorporated areas of the county being eyed for the new pot shops.

A planning and development meeting was held Wednesday, where the voices of county residents were heard.

"If that's where it's going to go, I want guidelines and I want rules established and set up so that my people or my community will be protected," the Rev. Jesse Scipio, of the Boulevard Gardens Homeowners Association, said.

"I'm afraid of the neighborhood getting really bad because we have problems as is," Matlene Coleman, who lives in the area, said.

Safety is outlined in proposed rules, which mandates that marijuana dispensaries have 24-hour off-duty police protection and be monitored by surveillance cameras.

"They really don't need to re-invent the wheel," Bruce Vanaman said.

Vanaman, who owned several dispensaries in Colorado, believes other location-based mandates will only create roadblocks for the county.

"These politicians and city leaders need to realize the citizens gave them a directive on Nov. 8. They need to fulfill their fiduciary duties on this directive," Vanaman said.

"I think it shouldn't be near a residential area, just because of children and schooling and what not," Smith said.

No one Local 10 News spoke to Wednesday is against the dispensing of medical marijuana locally, but are against placement in the proposed commercial zones.

Broward County commissioners will vote on the issue March 14 after a public hearing.

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