Flagler County Bans Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Unincorporated Areas

By on January 8, 2018 in WNDB News

Flagler County, FL – On Monday, The Flagler County Board of Commissioners voted 3 to 2 to ban the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Flagler County.

The vote Monday was the second reading of the ordinance to ban the pot dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of Flagler. Flagler Beach and Palm Coast have already approved the dispensaries in certain areas of the cities. The Florida legislature allows local governments to either ban dispensaries or to allow them with the same regulations as pharmacies.

Commissioners Charles Ericksen Jr., David Sullivan, and Commission Chair Gregory Hansen approved the ban. Commissioners Nate McLaughlin and Donald O’Brien Jr. opposed the ban.

“What this ban essentially does is segregate District 4, the west side, from the rest of the County,” said McLaughlin. He added that the majority of District 4 is unincorporated, and he claimed the dispensaries would not simply be “pot shops” but “medical dispensaries of an herb that has been deemed to have medicinal purposes and effects.”

McLaughlin said the dispensaries would be highly regulated in each case. “We regulate right down to the floor space, whether it fits within the land on the property in which they wish to place this. There are so many regulatory things that go into these (dispensaries) to govern that they are not run-down, criminally infested establishments,” McLaughlin told the Commission.

Hansen said that the State of Florida gave each County and each municipality the right to decide whether they want the dispensaries in their community or not, and he added that residents of unincorporated Flagler County have other options if they want medical marijuana. “We are not denying access to medical marijuana to anybody in Flagler County. It’s available in Palm Coast. It’s available in Flagler Beach, and it’s really a quality of life issue,” Hansen explained.

Ericksen said he is in favor of the ban on the dispensaries in the unincorporated areas because he wants to learn how Palm Coast and Flagler Beach deal with the dispensaries first before allowing the dispensaries in the unincorporated areas.

O’Brien told the Commission that there is still a long road ahead for the medical marijuana debate. “At the end of the day, we’re in such a murky situation,” said O’Brien. “Given the fact that the states and the federal government are at odds on this, and given the track record of the federal government and all the politics involved, we’re probably in for a long-term nationwide debate very much, I think, like prohibition was in the early part of the 20th Century.”

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.

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