FL: Boca Raton Board Recommends City Keeps Pot Businesses Out Another Year


Banning pot businesses for another year is what’s best for Boca Raton, a city board says.

Boca’s planning and zoning board recommended Thursday night, in a 4-1 vote, that the city should extend its 12-month ban on medical-marijuana-related activities until November 2017.

In recent years, city officials have cited a lack of city-zoning rules governing where medical marijuana centers can open as the reason for a temporary ban.

The Boca Raton City Council is expected to vote on the matter during its Nov. 8 meeting at City Hall, located at 201 W. Palmetto Park Road. A vote in favor will mark the third consecutive year that the city has passed the moratorium, which halts cultivation, processing, distributing or selling marijuana or “related activities.”

The current moratorium expires Nov. 10.

In October 2014, the council unanimously passed Palm Beach County’s first municipal moratorium on medical marijuana centers. The vote came one week before Florida’s medical marijuana amendment was defeated.

Although the amendment to legalize medical marijuana in Florida failed, specific marijuana dispensary organizations are authorized to operate in the state of Florida under the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.

Currently, the state has approved six dispensaries. The closest one to Boca Raton is in Miami-Dade County.

With the question of legalizing medical marijuana on the November ballot again, city staff urged the board Thursday to extend the ban another year because “there are too many unknowns.”

The city staff want to see what the state response would be to any efforts to further legalize medical marijuana. And the additional time also would allow the city to research the impact it would have on the community.

“It’s better to have all the cards on the table and totally understand what you have to regulate,” said Jim Bell, with the city’s development services department. “The information is going to change – that’s the problem.”

In Thursday’s planning and zoning board decision, Arnold Sevell was the only board member to vote against the extension. Chairman William Fairman and board member Janice Rustin were absent.

Even though board members expressed concerns about approving a temporary ban for a third time, they ultimately voted in its favor.

“There is a concern with us doing something, or implementing something, without really knowing where it is going,” board member Glenn Gromann said.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Boca Raton Board Recommends City Keeps Pot Businesses Out Another Year
Author: Emily Miller
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Photo Credit: Karen Ducey
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