Miami Beach could allow three medical marijuana dispensaries under new zoning – Miami Herald

City planners in Miami Beach believe three is the magic number for medical marijuana dispensaries on the island.

But with only three business licenses up for grabs under the proposal, the Beach’s administration already anticipates some stiff competition between distributors.

Officials have proposed three commercial areas in the three main sections of the city — South, Middle and North Beach — to allow retail locations where patients with recommendations from state-approved doctors can purchase medical cannabis. One such store opened Wednesday in Miami near the airport.

Commissioners will consider the zoning plan at an initial vote Wednesday.

Under the plan, South Beach could have a dispensary in a stretch of Fifth Street and three sections of Alton Road, including one patch at Dade Boulevard. In Middle Beach, a dispensary could go at either Mount Sinai Medical Center or at the intersection of Pine Tree Drive and 41st Street. In North Beach, the zoning would apply to a swath on the south side of 71st Street from Indian Creek Drive to Collins Avenue, and south on Collins to 69th Street.

Wherever they open, there would be limitations on signage and advertising, and the size of each establishment could not exceed 7,500 square feet. The law would prohibit marijuana being grown onsite.

Following the passage of a statewide constitutional amendment expanding Florida’s nascent medical marijuana program, the Beach instituted a citywide moratorium on dispensaries while city staff, commissioners and citizens on the planning board hashed out where to allow dispensaries to open. A memo notes that a preliminary analysis highlighted the difficulty of planning for dispensaries in tight quarters on the barrier island with virtually no large industrial zones.

“Initially, the administration looked at providing buffers around educational facilities, religious institutions, and parks, and this effectively zoned the use out

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