Is the city going to pot?

Well, it all depends on who’s blowing the smoke. According to state wide polls it appears that 65 to 70 percent of voters in the state of Florida would vote for legalizing MEDICAL marijuana. So come this November, voters will have a chance to render their collective opinion to either blow it up or down. It’s no slam dunk though, as the YEA’S NEED 60 percent and the opponents are starting to rally the troops in the hopes of defeating it and putting it back underground.

If it’s a go ahead on the medical marijuana, where will the pot-progressive- city of South Miami allow pot stores to open in our fair city? I challenge the city to have an open discussion about where medical marijuana dispensary should be located and do it way before it goes up in smoke and left to the state of Florida to tell the city what to do.

Here’s a bit more on the pot issue:

Floridians get to vote on Amendment Two on legalizing Medical Marijuana on the November ballot, getting spirited debate at public forums:

The issue of the legalization of medical marijuana on the November General Election Ballot this November 5 was the topic of the day at The Good Government Initiative luncheon held at the University of Miami. The initiative created by former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson to cultivate leaders of excellence had a panel of experts discussing the upcoming Constitutional Amendment Number 2 on the ballot.

walter harris

Commissioner Walter Harris (center) seen here with friends campaigning for the legalization of marijuana in 2011.

The panel was made up of Ben Pollara, the pro marijuana campaign manager, state Rep. Holly Raschein, R- Key Largo, Margaret Prinzavalli Sotham, of the South Miami Drug- Free Coalition, and Kevin Sabet, Ph.D., the director of drug policy at the University of Florida and each of them had a different take on the issue. Sorenson noted it was a timely topic, and the discussion needed to get past the debate whether “Reefer Madness: [or] Good Public Policy,” which was the event title. She noted that the nation will find out the scope and impact of pot legalization and whether “it is a gateway drug,” and America will find out after “whatever Colorado and Washington are experiencing,” the former commissioner said.

Pollara said what the “amendment seeks to do,” is make it a “national dialogue,” to determine if marijuana should be available for medical purposes. His organization is fighting all the “distortion” and “hysteria.” If Floridians had the availability “for certain medical marijuana” and these people are “real sick,” they will benefit by smoking marijuana, he said. He noted that multiple state polls are supportive of the measure with support running from 82 to 65 percent of statewide voters approving of the amendment that needs 60 percent of the electorate to approve it, for it to be added to the Florida Constitution. Sabet said the issue “was proper science,” and “not so much about the politics.” He said “Marijuana certainly contains medical properties,” and he is “not living in the “seventeen hundreds,” but his beef is “there is no way to dose marijuana.” He was concerned there is no exact dosage of the drug when it is smoked. The man also noted, “That you don’t smoke medicine,” and the way the law is written, “there is no age limit so a 15-year old could get marijuana without parental permission,” he said.

Sabet added that “the average user is a 32 year-old white male,” with vast majority of complaints being “for lower back pain, and insomnia.”

Raschein, a Republican representing Monroe County suggested we “be way careful.” She said the state should “move forward in extreme caution,” and to “start with a small population” while proponents are pushing the possible new “tax benefits.” That argument “is not a surprise to anybody,” but the lawmaker is concerned of the “major societal change,” the Amendment would have on the state. She added that when she was growing up, “you got grounded for pot,” and believes the social impact will be felt by families. She also carped she “was always against changing the Constitution, a sacred document.” You are putting “something in concrete,” and she would have liked it to “be a little bit tighter” and hopes “it will be regulated” in a clear fashion but at this point “voters will decide in November,” she closed.

Sotham said “this is not hysteria,” but her organization’s concern is you “Don’t need kids having one more challenge [if they have easy access to pot] and they will do poor academically,” she said. Howard Simon, an attorney with the ACLU chimed in and he believed there was an overarching issue to the debate, and that was the unfair nature of the criminal justice system that has minorities disproportionately arrested for pot and “half the people in prison are there because of drugs,” he said. In addition, he questioned what price the “status quo,” had on state residents. Moreover, the proponent said currently drugs are available at any school but it is being sold, “by the criminal world.”

Here is information on the Amendment on the upcoming ballot:
Here is the ballot language: “Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.”

What does Gov. Scott and former Gov. Crist say about the medical marijuana?
Gov. Rick Scott has said he will not support the change in the Constitution, Crist is supporting the change, and some pundits have suggested the marijuana issue is on the ballot to gin up Democratic voter turnout in what is expected to be a tight gubernatorial race. However, proponents say if that was the case they would have pushed the matter on the presidential General Election in 2016 when statewide voter turnout is at its highest, they note.

(This item was supplied by the

Speaking of getting high. I was feeling pretty good and much protected (sorta reminded me of my younger days) when I saw a whole bunch of South Miami cops over at Big Cheese. I kept wondering and thinking out loud “who is watching the store,” so to speak, when my lunch guest told me “not to worry, as the mayor, has everything under control.” Ouch! Silly me, I thought the current city manager, Steve Alexander had control of the situation.

I hear that a drug store is looking to build a rather nice size facility in the new South Miami Medical District, near Larkin Hospital. With two brand new huge medical offices being built within 3 blocks of Larkin and a pending senior center perhaps going up on Sunset Drive, next to Bank United and 61 St Ave, its sure to be winner, so say folks in the industry. And I almost forgot, South Miami Hospital/ Baptist Health is gonna put up a HUGE medical building on SW 62 Ave, just north of Sunset Drive and it will wrap around to Sunset Drive and 62 1/2 ave. Haven’t seen the plans yet, but my totally unreliable sources tell me that it is moving forward.

Couldn’t believe my eyes: Around 7 am a few weeks ago on SW 62 Ave and 69 St., I saw a young black male running north on the sidewalk and running right after him, was a young white female dressed in green hospital scrubs. And in the 30 seconds or so that I was watching this surreal event, the young lady was catching up with the guy as he slowed down to open the gate to get into the Lee Park Condominium complex and then they were out of my sight. And yes, the police were called and I’ve been told that the guy had grabbed her phone or her purse which she got back.

It’s too bad that the mayor wasn’t around, as he could have dressed up in his white wonder man cape and politely asked the bad guy to sit down and have some coffee to discuss the mayor’s position, that he didn’t want South Miami to be known as a police state. The mayor could have also added that he was actually upset when the cops pulled out their guns when they were serving warrants in the middle of night. Well folks, that’s the way it goes sometimes in the city of bewilderment.

To all my animal and horse aficionados, Miami-Dade County will host the “2014 Miami International Agriculture and Cattle Show” on April 11-13 at the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center at Tropical Park on SW 40 St and the Palmetto Expressway. The three-day show will bring agri-business interests from all over the world including, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe and Australia along with thousands of visitors from throughout the United States. This show is great for all ages and will surely entertain you.

For tickets and information, visit Many thanks to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto for making this event happen.

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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at

1 Comment on "Is the city going to pot?"

  1. New pot store south miami united fc inc opening at south miami park no random drug testing required.

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