Orlando may limit pot dispensaries to 7 – Orlando Sentinel


Orlando could soon adopt rules allowing as many as seven medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in the city, a move that an advocate for the drug said might be premature.

On Tuesday, an Orlando planning board will consider a slate of recommendations which, if adopted by the City Council, would end a moratorium imposed in July on medical pot stores.

The rules would prohibit dispensaries from opening within 200 feet of homes, 1,000 feet of schools, or within a mile of each other, and would bar them from selling alcohol or allowing patients to consume marijuana onsite.

City planners also have proposed limiting the number of dispensaries in the city to seven, matching the number of companies licensed by the state to cultivate and sell the drug to Florida patients.

“We’re just basically dipping our toe into allowing these types of facilities in our city, in reasonable locations that will allow reasonable access to medical cannabis,” said Chief Planner Jason Burton.

Orlando was one of several local governments, along with Orange County, Winter Garden and Apopka, that adopted temporary bans on medical-marijuana operations last year. Orange County is likely to extend its moratorium later this month, a spokeswoman said.

In November, voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing doctors to recommend full-strength marijuana for a variety of ailments. However, lawmakers in Tallahassee are still grappling with how to regulate the emerging industry.

Because regulations for medical marijuana are still up in the air, Orlando’s decision to move forward with local rules could be coming too soon, said Ben Pollara, executive director of Florida for Care, an advocacy group that was part of the campaign to legalize medical pot.

“For the most part it, [the moratorium] was understandable in the context of, ‘We’ve got to see how this shakes

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