The second reading of Ordinance 01-17 is being proposed to establish a moratorium on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries for a period of 270 days. Due to the recent referendum by the voters of the State of Florida approving a ballot measure allowing for the use of Medical Marijuana, the Florida Department of Health must now establish administrative procedures at the state level, as well as the regulatory authority at the local municipal level. The proposed moratorium will provide the necessary time for the City of DeBary Staff to determine the outcome of the State’s promulgation
of this new amendment and how it may impact local regulatory procedures. Once this is determined, staff will explore the impacts of the new state administrative procedures, including how to best draft and administer the new regulations into a local City Ordinance.
In 2014, the Florida Legislature passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act which authorizes a licensed dispensing organization to cultivate, process, transport, and dispense Low-THC Cannabis for certain qualified patients. In 2015, the Florida Legislature passed the Right to Try Act which amended the Compassionate Use Act and authorizes a licensed dispensing organization to cultivate, process transport and dispense Medical Cannabis for eligible patients. To date, the Florida Department of Health has approved six dispensing organizations throughout the state which are authorized to cultivate, process, transport, and dispense Medical Cannabis,
Low-THC Cannabis. The Compassionate Use Act addresses regulation of these dispensaries by the State, rather than the local municipalities. However, a municipality may determine by ordinance the criteria for the number and location of, and other permitting requirements that do not conflict with the state law or department rule for dispensing facilities of dispensing organizations located within its municipal boundaries.
On November 8, 2016, Florida electors voted upon and passed the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, which amends the Florida Constitution to authorize Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, defined as, “an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes, transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualify patients or their caregivers and is registered by the Department”. This amendment to the Florida Constitution becomes effective on January 3, 2017.
However, the recent legalization of Low-THC Cannabis and Medical Cannabis by the Compassionate Use Act and the Right to Try Act, the expansion of such use by the passage of the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative respectively, and the potential for future changes in the law regarding the use of cannabis, raise substantial questions regarding the impact of Dispensing Facilities and Medical Cannabis Activities. In addition, the constitutional amendment authorizes and/or requires the Florida Department of Health to promulgate certain regulations with respect to Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers and implementation of the constitutional amendment. These future regulations required to be promulgated by the Florida Department of Health could impact the authority of local governments to regulate dispensing facilities and other types of
activities with respect to medical cannabis.
Therefore, the proposed Ordinance 01-17 would place a temporary moratorium on dispensing facilities and upon certain medical cannabis activities providing time for the Florida Department of Health to promulgate certain regulations as required by the constitutional amendment and also so that City Staff and the DeBary City Council may explore the most effective regulatory measures once these procedures have been established by the State. The moratorium would begin on the effective date of the passing of this Ordinance and last for a period of 270 days, or less if provided by another ordinance by the DeBary City Council.
The temporary moratorium imposed by the proposed ordinance expires 270 days from the effective date of adoption. The moratorium may be extended or terminated early by adoption of an ordinance or resolution of the City Council.
Approve the second reading of Ordinance 01-17 which directs City staff, at the direction of the City Manager, to study Medical Cannabis Activities and Dispensing Facilities and their impact on the health, safety, and welfare of residents and businesses located within the City, and to develop and recommend, as deemed advisable by the City Manager, land development regulations for Medical Cannabis Activities and/or Dispensing Facilities in the City, and any other relevant and appropriate regulations and recommendations, with such recommendations and proposed regulations being delivered to the DeBary City Council within a reasonable time before the
expiration of this moratorium.