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Palm Coast Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 1 year ago

City approves 60-day moratorium extension on medical marijuana

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Medical marijuana facilities will be treated like pharmacies under the city's land development code.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Palm Coast is almost ready to allow medical marijuana facilities, but they'll have to wait a couple of months as the city prepares its regulations.

The City Council voted unanimously at its Aug. 15 meeting to extend its current moratorium on medical marijuana treatment facilities for up to an additional 60 days as the city's legal firm prepares amendments to the city's land development code. 

Under Florida law, municipalities can either ban medical marijuana treatment facilities entirely, or allow them with no more restrictions that the municipalities place on pharmacies.

Palm Coast's land development code changes will amend the code to restrict not medical marijuana facilities specifically — that would be illegal — but to regulate pharmacies so that they can only be built in non-residential areas.

Before the vote, City Councilman Nick Klufas asked how neighboring Flagler Beach ha ddecided to handle medical marijuana.

County Commissioner Donald O'Brien, who'd attended the meeting as an audience member, told council members that Flagler Beach has extended its own moratorium on medical marijuana facilities and is preparing to allow the facilities in commercial retail areas west of the Intracoastal Waterway, but that the Flagler Beach City Commission has not yet held an official vote on the matter.

Resident Jack Carall asked council members if they had determined how many locals would be using medical marijauan, so that the city could determine how many facilities it should have.

Mayor Milissa Holland replied that the facilities are private industry, so the city can't determine how many of them there will be.

"The market will dictate that," she said.

The state, however, will determine how many licenses will be issued for such facilities, City Attorney Bill Reischmann said.

After voting to extend its moratorium on facilities,  the council also voted unanimously — in what City Manager Jim Landon called a "belt and suspenders" measure — to direct its staff not to issue any permits or business tax receipts for medical marijuana facilities while the moratorium is in effect.

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