After a lively discussion Tuesday night, city commissioners in Lake Wales gave preliminary approval to policies governing medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits.
Suzie Schottelkotte @southpolkscene
LAKE WALES – After a lively discussion Tuesday night, city commissioners in Lake Wales gave preliminary approval to policies governing medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits.
The proposed ordinance doesn’t affect the Grow Healthy operations in the city, a state-licensed business that will grow and process medical marijuana. The city’s proposed legislation impacts where dispensaries, which will sell the marijuana products, can locate within the city.
The proposal passed by a 3-1 vote Tuesday, with Commissioner Pete Perez voting against it, saying he’s opposed to any legislation that approves marijuana use.
“I cannot approve this because I don’t believe in it,” he said. “I’m not against where they are putting them, I’m against the whole issue of marijuana.
“I think we are making a mistake,” he said.
Commissioner Terrye Howell was ill and didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting.
The proposed policy, which will go before the commission for a final vote April 5, mandates that dispensaries be licensed by the state and be at least 500 feet from schools and substance abuse rehabilitation facilities. Commissioners decided they should be within 2,000 feet of a hospital or urgent care center, which City Manager Kenneth Fields said should put them in well-lit, heavily populated areas that provide greater security.
The dispensaries can total no more than 5,500 square feet, the city’s proposed ordinance states, and business hours are restricted to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In addition, dispensaries must have security cameras at all entrances and exits, and the buildings must be used exclusively for dispensing medical marijuana, according to the policy.
Finally, anyone wishing to open a dispensary must obtain a conditional use permit