Commissioners: Don’t panic over 180-day moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries

medical marijuana, ocala, marion county, amendment 2

After many, many residents expressed their concerns to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners about the moratorium on medical marijuana, commissioners reached out to try and clarify their actions.

Marion County commissioners say they do not want the public to panic over the 180-day moratorium (temporary prohibition) of medical marijuana dispensaries that fall under Amendment 2.

The Amendment, passed on November 8, 2016, allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. 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. Applies only to Florida law. Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.

In a November 10 e-mail to Ocala Post , Marion County Public Information Officer, Elaine DeIorio McClain, wrote,  “During a public hearing at the Nov. 1 BCC meeting, the commission discussed implementing a 180-day moratorium (temporary prohibition/ban) on new medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Marion County.”

On November 14, Marion County Public Information Director Nick Zoller told Ocala Post that the moratorium is not directly aimed at Amendment 2, but rather “temporarily delaying the issuance of approvals to open medical marijuana dispensaries,” which falls under Amendment 2.

Zoller said, “The [180-day temporary delay] is related to an issue with zoning regulations which have to be updated to accommodate a new type of business that Florida voters have created through approval of Amendment 2. This is in no way a temporary ban on the amendment, but rather a procedural necessity to ensure effective services to citizens and business owners who will be interacting with these new establishments.”

McClain said that the discussion would continue at a second BCC public hearing slated for November 15. The commission meeting will begin at 9 a.m. The public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. The meeting will take place at the McPherson Complex, located at  601 SE 25th Ave., Ocala, FL 34471.

“It would only temporarily prevent the filing of applications for new medical marijuana dispensing facilities,” said Zoller.

The BOCC said once it is prepared by updating all zoning regulations, it has every intention of upholding Amendment 2.

Zoller said, “The county does and will continue to follow the laws of the state of Florida.”

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  • The ZONING changes should have already been being worked on. Marion County just did NOT start preparing for something they KNEW was coming and NOW who has to suffer the most? The “Patients” of Marion County. WHY? Because the medicine will be expensive enough, let alone NOW we will have to PAY for GAS to go out of county for our medicine. We will ALL still be at this MEETING tomorrow morning VOICING our concerns… And making sure our COMMISSIONERS are going to do the JOB we pay them to do. We will NEED a dispensary here in Marion County ASAP so we disabled patients don’t have to travel for our medicine.

  • Dan aylward

    6 this is typical Marion County in there long-term commission that needs to be moved out in the young moved in , every other county is ready and setting up I don’t know why ours needs 6 months to do that. Just like always slowcala is behind the ball on anything and everything they do, there are many people out here who can get off worst drugs then marijuana if you’ll go ahead and put the law into effect now. Personally I am sick of some of the drugs and I am on and know that or hope that this will change my lifestyle of which I have none now. I am on far worst drugs van marijuana and hope so bad to be able to try it to see if I can get off the other drugs I’m on such as a pain pump in my stomach that is very sensitive and bulges out of my stomach, not only that the morphine in me from 8 back surgeries I would love to cut down so I can get out and have fun and not just be home depressed and full of anxiety and won’t go anywhere thank you Ocala

    • Tigahhhh!

      You are the reason Im so upset that MARION COUNTY yet again snubbed its nose to what was RIGHT! I hope and pray you get the help you need and it works!! GOD BLESS YOU SIR!

  • Cherri Flesher

    This is another reason why we need young blood in the County Commissioners seats.
    The same ones have been there and they are not there for us. Everyone knew this was going to pass and they should have been prepared for it instead its now wait 6 more months.
    We shouldn’t have to wait any longer.
    Just like with our police and medics you pay them 11$ a hour and wonder why you cant keep them, maybe because neighboring counties pay 5 to 8 more dollars a hour but hey you get to say we didnt raise taxes again this year.
    Wiseup Marion County your people have had enough, the only ones that didnt want this was backing big pharmacy or so old they still believe marajuana is going to kill you and not help you.
    Try eating 133 pills a week, I would rather try marijuana thank you.

  • harry

    the voters all over america gave the gov’t a MANDATE, free the plant.

  • Tim Boyle

    You idiots are so gonna get sued over this.

  • OPTIMUS CRIME

    Marion County made so much money locking people up for marijuana that they need time to dry their tears before they act. No more petty drug offenses for a product less harmful than a pack of cigs.