County Outlines Regulations on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - The topic of medical marijuana was back at the Bay County Commission meeting Tuesday morning. This comes a few months after the commission passed a 240-day moratorium on the dispensaries.

"The commission passed the first reading of the ordinance that will regulate the medical marijuana dispensaries in Bay County," said Philip "Griff" Griffitts, Bay County Commissioner.

These regulations will allow cannabis dispensing facilities as a conditional use in all five of the commercial zones listed in the Bay County land development regulations, but there are some restrictions.

The facilities must be 500 feet from existing churches, publicly-owned parks, state-licensed child care facilities, schools, other cannabis dispensing facilities, and any area designated "residential". They also will not be allowed to sell alcohol or have drive through services at the facilities.

"Staff's done a really good job getting this together quickly. I think we're, we're the first governmental body to pass it in the county," said Griffitts.

Most cities in the county passed similar moratoriums on medical marijuana, but have been waiting on the county for guidance on regulations.

"We got into it maybe 30-45 days ahead of them so we're probably just a little bit ahead of the municipalities," said Griffitts.

There will be a second reading of the ordinance at the next county commission meeting, but even if it's approved, the county will still be waiting on the state legislature.

"This is still a moving target a little bit. Once the legislature hashes out all the organizational, the legalese, if you call it, for them over the next 60-90 days, we'll have a much more, better understanding of what we'll be facing in the future here," said Griffitts.

The next Bay County Commission meeting where they will hold the final vote on the ordinance is Tuesday, April 4 at 9 am.

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