Maitland City Council members passed a motion to draft a plan allowing medical marijuana treatment centers in Maitland after nearly an hour of debate.
Following a Florida Senate bill that preempted local regulation of medical marijuana in June 2017, the council enacted a moratorium on the issue in August 2017 to monitor new state level regulations. Although Seminole County and Eatonville still have moratoriums in place, a number of Central Florida cities already have decided on banning dispensaries or allowing them to be established.
Council members were presented with three options: banning dispensaries outright; treating them as pharmacies; or permitting them with modifications such as separation requirements and usage conditions. City staff recommended council to ban dispensaries due to their availability in neighboring cities.
“When we look at all of our plans for the west side and downtown, medical marijuana dispensary is not on the list of things that bring people to your downtown experience,” City Manager Sharon Anselmo said. “I think a lot of people (who voted for the bill) assumed it could be dispensed through Walgreens or Publix, and it can’t be. It’s single, standalone and only does one thing.”
Councilwoman Bev Reponen and Mayor Dale McDonald were strongly in favor of enacting a dispensary ban but failed to acquire a second for a motion.
The council ultimately decided to have city staff draft an ordinance with new conditions to differentiate dispensaries from pharmacies. The moratorium was extended six months as well, with the condition the ban could be enacted if the current plan proves fruitless.
The motion was passed 3-2.
City Council approved the distribution of a letter urging residents to contact state representatives over a series of controversial bills preventing city officials from making decisions in favor of statewide rules.
The series of House and Senate bills threaten the city’s ability to regulate short-term vacation rentals, tree trimming and removals, and have control over the community redevelopment agency. The city adopted a resolution opposing the tree-trimming bills in January.
The letter will be distributed through the city website and social media and will include contact information for senators and representatives who serve Maitland, according to the city document.
The city’s actions will line up with a similar letter put out by the city of Winter Park to its residents.
IN OTHER NEWS
The council approved a submission for the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Fire Prevention and Safety grant. The Fire Rescue Department is looking to use the funding to distribute carbon monoxide detectors to unequipped homes following several fatalities and injuries during Hurricane Irma from misplaced generators.
Council members approved a change order with CPH to perform additional easement services for the Dommerich/Choctaw design. The city determined it would be more convenient to have a temporary construction easement over some homeowner’s driveways while working on the design. An easement allowing a new, five-foot sidewalk to be built at Dommerich Drive and Horatio Avenue was also approved. The new easements will cost $6,750, bringing the project’s total cost to $55,250.