Lakeland city staff has carved out about 1,000 acres of highway commercial and light industrial zoned areas that medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to move into if ultimately approved by the City Commission.
Madison Fantozzi @madisonfantozzi
LAKELAND — Lakeland city staff has carved out about 1,000 acres of highway commercial and light industrial zoned areas that medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to move into if ultimately approved by the City Commission.
Four of the seven city commissioners supported the staff’s proposal in a meeting Friday, while others want to see some changes before it goes to the Planning and Zoning Board in May and the commission for a vote in June.
Staff is proposing medical marijuana dispensaries:
• Be located within C-2 and I-1 zoned districts with 500-foot separation from schools, daycare centers, park and recreation centers, playgrounds, libraries, churches, synagogues and other houses of worship.
• Be limited in size to 4,000 square feet.
• Be separated from other dispensaries by 2,000 feet.
• Prohibit drive-thru facilities.
• Prohibit outdoor displays.
• Prohibit consumption of marijuana and alcohol on the premises.
Mayor Howard Wiggs and commissioners Jim Malless, Phillip Walker and Edie Yates gave the proposal a thumbs up, although the others would like to see some leniency.
“It’s ironic, really, that it’s easier to open a place that serves alcohol and tobacco that cause disease than a place that sells medicine that alleviates pain and disease,” Commissioner Don Salvage said.
Commissioners agreed on one thing: dispensaries shouldn’t have a 500-foot buffer from residential properties.
Teresa Maio, the city’s planning manager, asked commissioners whether they would want to add that extra limitation, but it would have reduced the area available for dispensaries from 1,063 acres to 86 acres at the far outer limits of the city.