Medical Marijuana Dispensary locations under study in Broward County
By Kimberly Maroe
BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Medical marijuana dispensaries may soon be opening in Broward County as Commissioners ask for a legal ordinance that would allow the facilities to be located in the Broward Municipal Services District, areas of the county that are not part of any cities. State lawmakers ruled that dispensaries could either be banned by cities or counties or allowed to exist in the same areas where pharmacies can be located.
“Basically the state legislature now says wherever we can put a pharmacy, we can put a dispensary. So we have two choices,” noted Broward Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness. “There’s great concern from these fragile communities as to how this will impact them. I hope that we can take some time to carefully implement this as we go forward.”
According to a county survey, seven Broward County cities have designated general areas where dispensaries could operate. Areas identified in the Broward Municipal Services District include locations in Central County, Broadview Park and Hillsboro Pines.
“I do believe the voters wanted medical marijuana approved. So we do have an obligation and a responsibility to uphold that. So with that I am going to support the item. This is medical marijuana we’re talking about, not the illegal marijuana you buy in a baggie on the street,” said Mayor Barbara Sharief.
“The voters voted for this. That’s the bottom line. I think my district has as many senior residents, if not more than most of my fellow commissioners. I have a lot of seniors. Most everybody I speak to wants this. The other few don’t. But the majority rules. And the majority of the seniors I speak to in my district want this,” said Commissioner Mark Bogen.
“I do know that there are serious medical benefits from this and our voters voted overwhelmingly to support this. I speak to seniors all the time who want access to this. And by banning it all over the place we’re kind of shutting that down. I’m thinking that if this is regulated properly we should look at areas to do this in the County,” said Commissioner Michael Udine.
“We either direct the staff to prepare an ordinance to make it legal everywhere in the unincorporated county, where a pharmacy could go, or we make it illegal everywhere in the county where a pharmacy could go in the unincorporated areas. Since those are our two choices I would like to move that we direct the staff to prepare an ordinance to make it legal in the unincorporated areas of the county,” said Commissioner Steve Geller.
“I support the fact that the people voted for this. I spent enough time in Tallahassee with people who came year after year with children, with family members, with illnesses, and people who have children with epilepsy, who had 100 seizures a day but use this and are now down to half a dozen. I think it would be wrong of us not to allow this,” said Commissioner Nan Rich.
Commissioners had previously approved a Medical Marijuana Advisory Board that will make recommendations on future rules and regulations and educate residents about the pros and cons of using marijuana for health benefits.