Marion officials planning temporary ban on medical marijuana

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A temporary ban on medical marijuana could be possible

Marion County — On November 8, 2016, millions of Floridians exercised their right to vote to ensure that the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or Amendment 2, passed.

Amendment 2 ballot summary

“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.”

This amendment passed on November 8, with a vote of 71.3% for, and 28.7% against.

Many counties in Florida had already prepared because officials knew there was a high probability the Amendment would receive more than enough votes.

Marion County, however, did not.

The day after the election, Marion County citizens contacted Ocala Post. Citizens stated that they had heard rumors, which lead them to believe Marion County would not recognize Amendment 2.

Ocala Post then questioned the Board Of County Commissioners to find out if the rumors were true.

As it turns out, on November 1, 2016, seven days before Amendment 2 was passed, the BOCC discussed a temporary ban on the Amendment.

In an 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 (ban) on new medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Marion County.”

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 temporary moratorium will enable the county to study zoning regulations for this new type of business,” McClain said.

Unlike other cities in Florida, Marion County officials have also refused to decriminalize marijuana.

We want to hear from you. What do you think about the “temporary ban?” Do you think commissioners should have planned in advance?