With the vote on Amendment 2 a mere six weeks away, polls seem to be indicating that medical marijuana will be made legal in Florida. Some people fear that will lead to weed dispensaries popping up everywhere throughout Florida.
But, Boca Raton wants to keep dispensaries out of town, at least for a while, even if Amendment 2 does pass. On Tuesday, the city introduced an ordinance that would put a moratorium on dispensaries for at least a year.
This, just a few weeks after Boca hosted business seminars for those interested in getting into the weed dispensary business.
Boca is also being considered to be the location of a medical marijuana school by a personal trainer who is looking to be the first to open a medical marijuana education center.
But Boca is saying not so fast. And probably for good reason, though this kind of decision could trickle down throughout South Florida.
The main issue with Amendment 2, should it pass, will be regulation.
The state will have six months from November to come up with a regulatory framework.
Some municipalities don't want to take the risk that the state law will enable dispensaries in their city or town, and are pre-empting it.
While Boca isn't the first city to introduce this type of ordinance (Coconut Creek is looking at approving a six-month moratorium, and the Boynton Beach City Commission is also looking into it) it is a city known for limiting specific businesses in certain parts of town, which means this moratorium could very well go down.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Boca has limits on businesses such as car dealerships that display cars upon cars.
Assistant city manager Mike Woika says how medical marijuana businesses would be limited will depend on the framework of the moratorium put together by the city.
"It would probably end up like bars, restaurants and adult districts," Woika said per the Sentinel. "We want to see what comes up and try to get some rules out there" before the businesses could actually open in Boca, Woika said. "There's currently nothing in the city code about locations for marijuana dispensing operations."
Specifically, the ordinance is focusing on curbing any business that cultivates, possess, or makes marijuana related products, or sells educational materials.
In July, a Blue Ribbon Commission called Florida For Care was formed to deal with regulations and how to handle such concerns. The commission is made up of people from both sides of the issue, and chaired by former Speaker and Amendment 2 author John Mills, who backs medical marijuana legalization, and vice chaired by state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, who opposes it.
"We want to make sure the Blue Ribbon Committee sets up regulatory standards should Amendment 2 pass," Florida For Care Executive Director Dan Rogers told New Times. "We're doing this by implementing three guiding principles: Ensuring patient access, having a robust regulatory system, and the promotion of a free commercial enterprise."
For now, the Boca City Commission will be looking at the ordinance again next month before November's vote on Amendment 2.