Two Okaloosa County Commissioners say they wouldn’t agree with banning dispensaries in the county’s unincorporated areas.

TONY JUDNICH @Tonyjnwfdn

OKALOOSA COUNTY — Last November, 71 percent of voters in Okaloosa County and the rest of Florida approved Amendment 2 to expand the use of medical marijuana.

The amendment expanded legislation that already permitted more limited medical cannabis, and it also called for the state Department of Health to regulate medical marijuana growers and dispensaries.

But on June 9, the last day of the state Legislature’s three-day special session, state lawmakers approved a medical marijuana bill that includes a provision that gives cities and counties the ability to ban such dispensaries within their jurisdictions.

While the bill still needs Gov. Rick Scott’s signature in order to become law, at least two Okaloosa County Commissioners say they wouldn’t agree with banning dispensaries in the county’s unincorporated areas.

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Local control

State Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin, voted “yes” on the proposed bill. He said the provision on possible bans of dispensaries provides local jurisdictional control.

“I thought it empowered local cities sand counties to allow (dispensaries) in, or to just say ‘We won’t allow them,’” Ponder said Friday. “I’m fine with that. It’s good to empower our cities and counties to do what’s best for them, and keep the state out of it. It’s a local choice.”

After being asked if potential bans on dispensaries equate to ignoring the will of the people, Ponder replied: “Some could possibly say that. But the 71 percent (rate of voter approval) was to give greater access to medical marijuana, and as a state, we’re honoring that.”

He

Read More Here...