Christopher Guinn @cguinnnews
LAKELAND — Lakeland will scrap its medical-marijuana dispensary zoning ordinance in utero as the proposed language, which was slated for a vote July 5, contradicts rules created by the Florida Legislature in a special session.
Under the rules approved by the Legislature and awaiting the governor’s signature, cities and municipalities are not able to more strictly limit the location of medical-marijuana dispensaries than they do for pharmacies.
Amendment 2, which allows the prescribing and dispensing of cannabis products for medical conditions, was approved by Florida voters in November. Cities and counties throughout the state, including Lakeland, have been setting moratoriums on medical-marijuana outlets until the Legislature finished its work.
The Lakeland ordinance that was up for a second of two required readings in front of the public Monday would have prevented the clustering of medical-pot shops, set a minimum proximity to houses of worship and allow them in only two types of building zones.
One difference between other pharmacies and medical-marijuana outlet zoning, however, is that the city can require 500 feet of separation between a school and the outlet, according to the approved bill, SB 8A.
Though the City Commission could have voted on the proposed rules Monday, members agreed to wait until next month as Commissioners Jim Malless and Bill Read were absent from the meeting.
A new ordinance will be presented July 5 for a first reading and could be voted on July 17.
Under the state legislation, cities and counties will be able to ban medical-marijuana dispensaries, but even the commissioners preferring stricter restrictions have not voiced the idea.
The Legislature’s action aligns with the desires of Commissioners Malless, Justin Troller and Don Selvage, who unsuccessfully urged their colleagues to treat medical-marijuana providers no different than any other pharmaceutical provider.
Lakeland’s moratorium will