By Jane Smith
Delray Beach, often called the rehab capital of the country, is trying to stay one step ahead of treatment centers.
In early September, the City Commission unanimously agreed to a one-year moratorium on medical marijuana treatment centers and dispensaries. City planning staff will research the issue, identify areas where marijuana sales might be possible and assess the likely impacts on the city and services.
“We haven’t even started to talk about where the dispensaries would be allowed,” said Tim Stillings, planning director. “We may in fact prohibit them, but it will be the commission’s decision.”
In researching an area, his staff will look at traffic, congestion, effect on nearby property values, police and fire operations, and impact on other city services before reporting back to the commission.
Boca Raton has a year-long moratorium, its second, effective until Nov. 10. The city’s Planning and Zoning Board recommended Sept. 8 that the city authorize a third moratorium.
Florida voters will be asked in November to approve a constitutional amendment that allows for medical marijuana to be sold legally in the state for those with debilitating medical conditions. It also would authorize growing, processing, distributing and selling marijuana in medical marijuana treatment centers.
In 2014, the state authorized six sites to grow medical marijuana that has a lower active chemical component than in marijuana commonly sold on the street. The nurseries are regulated by the state’s Department of Health. The closest nursery to Delray Beach sits in Miami-Dade County, although doctors prescribing medical marijuana and dispensaries selling it have popped up all over the state.
Florida does not allow medical marijuana to be smoked and bans its transfer to anyone other than the qualified patient. Dispensaries will handle oil, gel caps and vapor forms only. Other restrictions include forbidding its use in public and on school grounds.
Federal law prohibits growing and selling marijuana.
In other states, such as California and Colorado, where medical marijuana sales are legal, many banks won’t work with the cannabis businesses, forcing them to accept cash only and no credit cards.
“As far as the banks, we’ll have to see what Florida institutions do about this,” Stillings said.
By Jane Smith