Tampa extends moratorium on new local rules for medical marijuana dispensaries
With competing bills in the Legislature on how to implement the voter-approved constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana, Tampa City Hall has decided to wait a little longer before drafting its own zoning or other rules for pot dispensaries.
So on Thursday, the City Council voted to extend a temporary moratorium on rezonings or permits for medical marijuana dispensaries. A 90-day moratorium that City Hall enacted before the Legislature’s spring session is scheduled to expire on May 17. The council voted 6-to-1 to extend it to Aug. 15.
The no vote came from Frank Reddick, who said he felt the city could move sooner. But a city attorney said the proposed extension would allow the city to look at whatever laws Tallahassee passes in response to Amendment 2, then come up with ideas and maps, hold a council workshop on June 15 and have time for any proposed development rules to be reviewed by the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission and go through two public hearings.
“There’s a lot of things in play,” council member Mike Suarez said. “We need to really look hard at what this is once it gets through, and we really need to give (staff) time to figure out where we’re at on all of this stuff. … I’d rather to wait to find out where we can actually make a difference.”
Two members of the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance urged the council to proceed carefully to prevent a proliferation of marijuana dispensaries.
“Instead of people seeing this as a medicine, a lot of people see it as a big business,” anti-drug activist Teresa Miller said. “And it will change our landscape if we end up with pot shops on every corner.”