Deltona leaders discuss medical marijuana dispensaries; Nonprofit proposes grow operation


DELTONA, Fla. - A local non-profit organization went before Deltona city commissioners Monday night as they discussed an ordinance that would regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

Representatives with the Coalition Against Hunger urged commissioners to allow the marijuana dispensaries in certain areas. The group said it wants to buy the Deltona Plaza at 1200 Deltona Boulevard and use the former Winn Dixie store to house a marijuana grow business.

"Being able to address the issues of the homeless in Deltona," said Smiley Thurston with Coalition Against Hunger. "Helping to feed the hungry."

Thurston and Wayne Rodgers, founder of Coalition Against Hunger, want to use the medical marijuana industry to create jobs and raise money for their non-profit.

"We're going to employ between 70 and 100 people to start out," said Rodgers.

But first the group needs clearance from Deltona city commissioners, who met for over an hour about the issue Monday night. City leaders are warm to the idea of dispensaries, but not so much about the marijuana growing businesses.

Commissioners directed the city attorney to move forward with a draft ordinance that loosens restrictions on where dispensaries would be allowed.

The organization's marijuana growing plans are facing some criticism from residents who live right across the street.

"I support Proposition 2, but I do not think this is the right area for that," said neighbor Kim Thompson. "There's too many families and kids around here."

City leaders are hoping to have an ordinance passed before November's vote on legalizing medical marijuana. There's no word on when they'll address the marijuana growing proposal.