Some cities had temporary bans on marijuana dispensaries. Now they’re keeping them out permanently.

Florida Dispensaries – Nearly two years after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana, some cities’ temporary stops to pot businesses have turned into outright bans.

Temporary bans in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Margate, Tamarac and Pembroke Pines have become permanent, effectively keeping pot shops out of certain communities and drawing concerns from medical marijuana’s proponents. They join at least seven other South Florida cities with bans.

Benjamin Pollara, who was a political consultant in the 2014 and 2016 referendums to allow medical marijuana, said that city governments are subverting the will of the people. More than 70 percent of Florida voters in 2016 agreed that medical patients with certain types of illnesses should have access to medical marijuana.

“You’ve got the biggest population center in the state and patient access [to medical marijuana] has been seriously limited, by these local governments passing bans and I think it’s really shameful,” Pollara said.

State rules adopted in 2017 left cities with two options: Ban dispensaries outright, or regulate their locations to the same degree that pharmacies are regulated, which in most cases means allowing them in all commercial districts. The only restriction is that they must be at least 500 feet from a public or private school.

In addition to the places where temporary bans have become permanent, other cities that ban them are Delray Beach, Highland Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Royal Palm Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes and Southwest Ranches.

Of the 64 dispensaries in Florida, 11 have opened across South Florida, with three in Broward County, three in Palm Beach County and five in Miami-Dade County, according to the state Health Department records.

Even Lake Worth, the first South Florida city to have a dispensary, is rolling up….Read More

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