Pot precautions justified

Municipalities and counties across Florida are racing to adopt ordinances that place a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries. Smart move but possibly premature. The state has not established any regulations yet. And if history is any indication, the Legislature will supersede home rule once again. That, however, could be a good thing — if the rules are strict.

Nobody wants pot sellers near schools, churches, day care centers and anywhere a vulnerable population gathers. Like a homeless shelter. The overwhelming passage of the constitutional Amendment 2, with just over 70 percent of voters, well over the 60 percent threshold, does not legalize recreational cannabis, but the threat of resales has been a major point against the measure.

Local governments have plenty of time to act. Amendment 2 language clearly stated that the Florida Department of Health is required to set regulations on marijuana production and distribution centers and issue identification cards for patients and caregivers within six months of its effective day. The ballot summary states: “The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers” — within six months of the effective date. According to Florida’s Constitution, that date would be Jan. 3. Then the six-month clock starts ticking.

Knowing how the state stumbled badly on the Charlotte’s Web strain of non-euphoric medical marijuana, delaying implementation of the legislation —signed into law in 2014 — until just this year, Amendment 2 proponents served notice that dawdling would not be tolerated. People with the debilitating conditions outlined in the amendment are suffering now and should not have to wait.

So a 180-day moratorium, as the city of Bradenton is considering, should be enough once a final hearing is held on Dec.

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