Marijuana moratoriums OK — but not for long | Editorial – Sun Sentinel
With 71 percent of Floridians having voted to legalize medical marijuana, it might seem surprising to see so many South Florida communities impose moratoriums on dispensaries.
So far, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and the village of Golf have imposed year-long timeouts. Also, six-month freezes have been imposed in Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Hallandale Beach, although Hallandale’s will expire in January.
Given the unknowns, the moratoriums are understandable. For while voters agreed to give residents with certain medical ailments a constitutional right to medical pot, the Legislature has yet to write the implementing language that clarifies how the process will work, exactly.
After all, no one wants a dispensary next door to a school or church, or congregated in a single neighborhood, changing its character. We’ve also yet to learn whether legislators will outlaw packaging that looks like candy or overwrite another law that prohibits anyone from smoking marijuana, medical or otherwise.
Coral Springs Vice Mayor Dan Daley, who supported the ballot effort, said city leaders “are taking a lot of flak” about their moratorium. “People are asking, ‘Why didn’t you prepare?’ That’s not the issue. We’re waiting to see what the state does.”
Absent a moratorium, cities fear businesses will apply for conditional use permits when the amendment takes effect on Jan. 3, but before the state’s regulatory framework is established. From there, the courts could get involved.
So it makes sense to call a timeout and track one of the hottest topics facing lawmakers next spring: how to regulate the medical marijuana industry.
Let’s hope they do a better job than the scheme they created after passing a 2014 law that allows doctors to prescribe a non-euphoric version of cannabis — a process that ended with only six large companies being allowed to grow and