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Boca reconsiders medical marijuana dispensary ban

Could medical marijuana dispensaries be in the city’s future?

Council is reconsidering renewing Boca’s moratorium. But don’t look for a flurry of facilities anytime soon.  Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016. Laws passed in 2017 allowed cities to say no.  Palm Beach County opted in and some cities have allowed them. Two are in nearby Deerfield Beach.

But Boca opted out and the last ban was approved in October 2017. That means no dispensaries are allowed by law in the same districts that permit pharmacies.

Council verified that Boca patients can order deliveries and use medical marijuana inside city limits.  But when renewing the ban came up Monday, a new city council wanted to think about it.

“I have no issue with patients using, but we need to hear from operators,” Councilman Andy Thomson said at the Oct. 22 workshop on dispensaries.

“I want to make sure this is done right,” said Councilman Jeremy Rodgers. His concern was Lake Worth that said yes, then reconsidered after dispensaries moved in.

“I’m sensitive about users,” added Mayor Scott Singer.

Eric Sevell was one of three people who spoke for having dispensaries here. He specifically talked about the distance from schools rule.  “What about the children? Cannabis is already here for Boca kids,” he said, citing drug deals at some city schools.

“Do we want to keep revisiting this?” asked Councilwoman Andrea Levine O’Rourke. “This is a quality-of-life issue and people’s health.”

“Seven-six percent of voters voted to approve medical marijuana,” said Councilwoman Monica Mayotte. “We need to try and make something work.”

By Marci Shatzman

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