Orlando's city commission voted unanimously to extend a temporary ban on any new medical-marijuana dispensaries until next July. The moratorium is similar to an amendment passed by the Apopka City Council by a vote of 3-2 last month.
Despite Florida voters backing a Constitutional amendment to expand the medical uses of marijuana, Orlando voted to extend that temporary ban, which will allow staffers to study the impact of marijuana distributors in the city, including whether they should be allowed near churches and schools.
In Apopka, it was law enforcement that pushed the hardest for a moratorium.
Apopka Police Chief Michael McKinley wanted a six-month moratorium to re-evaluate if the locations are still the most suitable places for the City of Apopka.
"I thoroughly understand everybody's concerns and not to impede anybody's business, but the city has changed in the year-and-a-half since that ordinance has been enacted," he said. "If you look at the designated grow area, it's surrounded by sub-divisions now. If you look at a little bit of history from Colorado which first started with marijuana, the task force there studied the effect marijuana had on Colorado, and from 2006-2011 drivers who tested positive for marijuana involved in traffic fatalities increased 114% in five years. Denver's Department of Safety reported there were 7,000 reported crimes within 1,000 feet of dispensaries in the first six months of 2012-13. I'm not trying to stop anyone from the growing and dispensing of marijuana and I certainly can sympathize with those that need medical marijuana. I just think currently that the city is looking at the development code and the direction the city is going, and we need to look at whether the dispensary locations are still appropriate."
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