Boynton Beach Commissioner Wants to Legalize Medical Marijuana

On Tuesday, Palm Beach County commissioners are expected to give final approval to an ordinance that will decriminalize marijuana in that county, joining Broward, Hallandale Beach, Miami-Dade, and Key West as areas in South Florida where those caught with a small amount of pot will be fined rather than arrested.

Boynton Beach Commissioner David Merker wants to take things a step further, saying he'd like to see medical marijuana legalized.

Merker, who is also running for mayor, says he wants to draft an ordinance to make medical weed legal in Boynton Beach and would like to see it sold in pharmacies. 

According to WPEC, Merker says he'll have a measure on medical marijuana on the agenda for next Tuesday's commission meeting. 

"Medical marijuana should be accepted in the City of Boynton Beach," Merker told the news station. 

Earlier this month, Broward commissioners gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would allow police officers to issue civil citations to anyone caught with 20 grams of pot or less, rather than filing criminal charges. Miami-Dade County decriminalized pot possession back in June. Key West recently passed a similar ordinance. Hallandale Beach became the first city in Broward County to decriminalize pot when it passed the measure on August 5.

Palm Beach is likely to join that list, but Merker's focus is more on the medical benefits. He says he did his own personal informal poll of 500 people in Boynton Beach and claims that more than 90 percent say they're in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

"If the medical field says, states emphatically, that they believe that it can help people who are going through pain, why would you not want it?" he said.

Merker, however, is not sure where he stands on marijuana socially.

"I’m not against the investigation and the education of marijuana for social uses. Is it that bad, or isn’t it that bad?” he said, via the Palm Beach Post.

But, he says, he was moved to look into medical marijuana legalization when residents kept asking him about it. It's not clear where the other commissioners stand on the issue, but Merker said he believes he'll get the votes to push it through. We should know more come Tuesday.

"I believe Boynton Beach should be a leader. It has to start somewhere," Merker said. 
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph