Small Church Stops Nation’s Largest Medical Marijuana Facility From Moving Into Fla. Town

LAKE WALES, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Many top officials from Polk County and the city of Lake Wales tried to stop but couldn’t get it done, but a small church was able to prevent the largest medical marijuana facility in the country to be moving into Lake Wales.

“The church is not interested,” Pastor Marshal Kirchik of the Bethel Baptist Church told WTSP. “Marijuana is marijuana. It does not belong in Polk County. Certainly not on church property.”

GrowHealthy wanted to move into an abandoned mattress manufacturing plant, but the law says a marijuana facility must be at least 1,000 feet from a church.

Bethel first agreed to the lease for GrowHealthy but a second vote overturned the first one.

Kirchik told the station that GrowHealthy first offered to pay the church $500 a month then upped it to $1,000.

“There’s no amount of money that would make the members reconsider their moral opposition,” he told WTSP.

GrowHealthy’s CEO Don Clifford said they respected the church’s decision.

“From the beginning, GrowHealthy has pursued multiple sites and growing facilities in Central Florida in parallel to our consideration of the Lake Wales facility. Our expectation was to make a final determination on our facility site with feedback from the local community. While the Lake Wales facility was a good option, we respect Bethel Baptist Church’s decision,” Clifford told WTSP in a statement.

The church of only 11 members say they will do what they can to oppose a marijuana facility anywhere in Polk County.

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