While Baca Raton residents will not know definitively whether medical marijuana treatment centers will be banned until October 24, it looks likely to happen. Palm Beach County does have a number of cities that are allowing medical marijuana outlets, such as Deerfield Beach and Boynton Beach. Patients will not have to travel far to receive their medical cannabis and they can always have it delivered. Boca Raton officials are citing zoning issues as their reason for introducing an ordinance to ban the facilities.
Palm Beach County’s southernmost city is on track to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from opening within its borders.
The Boca Raton council on Tuesday evening introduced an ordinance that would ban pot shops from opening within the city. The rule still requires a vote at an Oct. 24 meeting.
The ban would not restrict residents from getting marijuana prescriptions, using the drug or having it delivered to their homes, city attorney Diana Freiser said.
“It’s simply a zoning issue,” she said.
The state legislature gives local municipalities just two options: Regulate dispensaries the way they do pharmacies, or ban them outright.
Palm Beach County allows pot shops to open in unincorporated areas, meaning dispensaries can open just west of city limits in Boca’s suburbs.
“I don’t believe there is a burden being placed on the residents who need it,” Councilman Robert Weinroth said.
Eric Sevell, a Boca Raton resident and son of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board Vice Chair Arnold Sevell, urged the council to rebuff the ban, which would hurt those “who really need this.”
“Boca’s most vulnerable need access,” he said.
If approved, Boca Raton will join several Florida municipalities in banning pot shops after voters overwhelmingly passed a measure to legalize medical marijuana access in November.
Delray Beach and Royal Palm Beach have banned pot shops. Palm Beach Gardens officials too are expected to ban the businesses from their city on Thursday.
Nearby cities of Deerfield Beach, Lake Worth and Boynton Beach all have welcomed marijuana dispensaries. Palm Beach County’s first dispensary will likely open in Lake Worth after the Florida Department of Health signed off on the venture Friday.