Florida: Medical marijuana dispensaries banned in Boca Raton for at least one more year

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It will be at least a year before Boca Raton reconsiders allowing medical marijuana dispensaries.

The city council banned the shops from opening within city limits Tuesday.

The council was concerned the city is not able to regulate how many dispensaries can exist, based on current state laws. The city would have to either allow them into all of their commercial zones or ban them completely.

“Let’s take a wait-and-see approach,” Councilman Jeremy Rodgers. “We can do this right, but right now our hands are tied and we can’t do this right.”

Boca will revisit the policy in a year after reaching out to the Florida Legislature for guidance.

Delray Beach recently took a similar approach last month, banning the dispensaries for a year because of concerns over regulation.

Alternatively, Boynton Beach gave initial approval last week and Deerfield Beach voted to allow them. Palm Beach and Broward counties also allow dispensaries.

Boca’s decision effectively extended its year-long moratorium on the shops that was set to expire on Nov. 8, according to the city.

Citing the nearly 75 percent of Palm Beach County residents who voted for medical marijuana legalization last year, resident Susan Pernell said the city needed to listen to voters.

“I think it could be very very helpful for the people of Boca Raton,” Pernell said.

The ban also brought pushback from Councilman Robert Weinroth, who was previously staunchly opposed to dispensaries.

“Over the course of the last few months, I have listened to a lot of people speaking to me about this,” Weinroth said before voting against the ban. “It is time that we accept the voters’ request and allow the medical marijuana dispensaries within our city.”

But the new ban doesn’t prohibit patients in Boca from receiving or using medical marijuana. They can still get their prescriptions delivered or drive to a dispensary in Deerfield or unincorporated Boca.

In order to get a prescription, patients must have a qualifying condition, including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD or “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class,” the state statute says. Once approved by a doctor, residents then have to apply for a medical marijuana ID card from the state.

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Source: 420 Intel – United States

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