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Florida: City Bans Terms For Future Marijuana Businesses

Jacob Redmond

New Member
For any medical marijuana joints interested in coming to Altamonte Springs, the most descriptive business names have already gone up in a puff of green smoke.

In fact, the previous sentence contains no fewer than six words that these establishments would be barred from using.

All total, Altamonte Springs leaders have prohibited 27 terms from appearing in the titles of medical marijuana retail centers, including the words "medical" and "marijuana."

And "dope," "ganja" and "grass."





"Mary Jane"?

"Wacky tabacky"?

Banned and banned.

The list of prohibited terms was tucked inside a package of rules for medical marijuana facilities that want to open in Altamonte Springs. The ordinance passed unanimously at a Tuesday night commission meeting.

City manager Frank Martz said the section excluding certain words was added so establishments don't sound like a place to get illegal drugs.

To prevent creative euphemisms, the ordinance also bans synonyms to the forbidden words. Big, green pot leaf images and other "illustrative graphics" are taboo, too.

These strict prohibitions could raise First Amendment concerns, says Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

Courts have authorized governments to police businesses that are making false or misleading claims about their products, but not to censor words that officials find objectionable, he added.

"If municipalities begin down that road, what's next?" Simon wrote in an email. "Will the Council entertain complaints that medical facilities remove reference to 'breast' cancer or 'testicular' cancer because someone wants to shield the public from words that reference anatomy?"

He continued, "Business owners should not be forced to perform linguistic gymnastics based on the whims of a city council that is arbitrarily designating what words are acceptable."

Altamonte Springs leaders gave the new regulations final passage following a roughly five-minute public hearing without any citizen comment or discussion among commission members. The portion relating to business names wasn't mentioned.

The new ordinance does not come in response to a particular business proposal but is in preparation for anticipated growth in the medical marijuana industry, Martz said.

Tom Angell, founder of the group Marijuana Majority, said he's never come across a provision like the one Altamonte Springs passed. And he said he's not sure what it will accomplish.

"Why wouldn't you want medical marijuana facilities to use the words 'medical' or 'marijuana' in their name? Who are they trying to fool?" said Angell, whose organization advocates for marijuana policy reform.

Mary Sneed, an attorney who helped the city craft the ordinance, defended the naming restrictions as "in keeping with the standards in Altamonte Springs." She also said they'll help safeguard the city from public safety issues.

While Sneed mentioned California as being plagued by problems associated with loosened marijuana laws, the link between medical marijuana dispensaries and increased crime has been disputed.

Sneed said she looked at municipal laws in California and throughout Florida when constructing the Altamonte Springs proposal. She could not immediately recall where the section barring 27 words originated.

However, branding and advertising aren't important to the business model for medical marijuana facilities, since physicians will be referring patients directly to dispensaries, Sneed added. She said she would expect the term "compassionate use" to appear in many business names.

Just last week, the state awarded medical marijuana licenses to five growers. The growers will also be in charge of distributing the substance, and though none of the five is based in Altamonte Springs, they will be allowed to place retail centers in various locations around the state.

News Moderator: Jacob Redmond 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Florida: City Bans Terms For Future Marijuana Businesses
Author: Bethany Rodgers
Contact: Email Author
Photo Credit: The Associated Press
Website: Orlando Sentinel

420 Warrior

Well-Known Member
What? So you can't have a place called "Big Jim's Wacky Tabacky Pot Head Clinic"? That deserves a big WTF!!!? ​Are they serious with this crap? So they're putting certain words under prohibition now? So I guess all the head shops in Florida's tourist towns with names like "Purple Haze" will have to change to something like "Fun Stuff We Can't Mention To The Public"? This is both appalling and laughable at the same time!

Can we give this committee a name? Call it, "The Super Narcissistic, Paranoid, Delusional Committee For Unjustified Laws" Or maybe keep it simple and call it "The Ignorant People Committee"...Again WTF???!!! It's unlike me to be at a loss for words, but damn! I'm so dumbfounded by this one, I don't even hardly know where to start?

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