Wednesday, December 13, 2017
News Roundup

Zephyrhills enacts moratorium on marijuana dispensaries

ZEPHYRHILLS — City leaders have passed a temporary ban on marijuana dispensaries in the wake of voter approval of a state constitutional amendment legalizing medical pot.

During a meeting Monday night, the Zephyrhills City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that puts in place a moratorium on the establishment of marijuana dispensaries in the city for a year. The ordinance cites a lack of land-use regulations on the books. While the council approved the one-year time period, it has the option to repeal the moratorium sooner.

The council's vote is a result of a request by City Attorney Matthew Maggard to investigate the impact of the constitutional amendment, which passed Nov. 8, allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with debilitating diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy. The amendment passed on the heels of the 2014 Compassionate Use Act, which allowed for the prescribing of low-THC marijuana for patients.

The ordinance describes the uncertainty facing the city regarding medical marijuana, as well as the need to investigate possible ways to regulate dispensaries.

"Florida laws relating to the cultivation, production and dispensing of cannabis products are rapidly changing — raising the substantial question about whether cannabis-related land uses, as a category of commercial use, may have deleterious and negative secondary impact on surrounding land uses and communities," the ordinance states.

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