On January 17, the Oldsmar City Council approved on first reading a 180-day moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries and treatment centers in town. The second and final reading is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7. (WikiCommons)
The City of Oldsmar recently joined several Pinellas County communities in agreeing to enact a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and treatment facilities in town.
On January 17, the City Council voted on first reading to approve Ordinance 2017-01, which calls for “a temporary moratorium on the establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensing organizations and medical marijuana treatment centers within the City of Oldsmar for a period of 180 days.”
According to City Attorney Tom Trask, the move is designed to allow civic leaders an opportunity to assess every possible angle of the new state law allowing the use of medical marijuana for individuals with specific debilitating illnesses, which passed in November and went into effect on January 3, 2017.
Oldsmar City Attorney Tom Trask.
“The county is moving forward with the moratorium,” Trask said, noting 10 cities have already started or completed the process of enacting a temporary ban, including neighboring Safety Harbor.
“Unfortunately the city, like most cities in the state of Florida, do not have land development code regulations that provide for the particular zoning to provide for the establishment of these types of facilities.”
Trask went on to say that the moratorium will allow the city to work out the logistics of the ramifications of the new law, such as where the establishments would be located, what the hours of operation would be, would they be allowed to operate near a school or a church, could they have drive-thrus, etc…
“All those different types of things we need to take into consideration like you do for alcohol or bar situations you would want to do also for this particular type of business,” he said. “This gives us the opportunity to gather information, determine what is in the best interests of the city and bring back to you for your consideration and approval an ordinance dealing with these two types of facilities.”
Following Trask’s explanation, and with no public comment on the issue, the council voted unanimously to approve the temporary moratorium by a count of 3-0 (Council Member Gabby McGee and Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel were absent from the meeting).
The council will vote on the issue for the second and final time during the next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7.