Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Park Puts Moratorium on Marijuana; It's in Case Florida Voters Approve Amendment 2 in the Election

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Park Puts Moratorium on Marijuana; It's in Case Florida Voters Approve Amendment 2 in the Election

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski

ORANGE PARK | The Orange Park Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to impose a one-year moratorium on the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries or treatment centers within the town limits should Florida voters approve Amendment 2 in the Nov. 8 general election.

If approved, Amendment 2 would expand the medical use of marijuana statewide for people with debilitating medical conditions. The state amendment also would authorize licensed businesses in Florida to acquire, produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes. Amendment 2 is similar to a 2014 state constitutional amendment that failed because it didn't meet the 60 percent approval threshold from voters.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health recently established the Office of Compassionate Use to begin implementing a state law authorizing the prescribing and distribution of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis for some patients diagnosed with serious, life-threatening medical conditions.

The council voted after holding the final public hearing on the proposed moratorium in which one resident spoke.

Barbara Bujak said she opposed the moratorium because it would be an unnecessary roadblock preventing people from getting the medical treatment they need - as determined by a licensed doctor - as quickly as possible.

"I don't understand the fear here if the populace wants it. Let's not be afraid of this. A year moratorium is too long. If my cancer comes back and they [doctors] want me to take it, or if it's actually sometimes a preventative or if you have somebody in pain in a nursing home ... who could use this why should they have to wait a year or try to drive to whatever city is ready to handle this?"

Mayor Eugene Nix said town officials want the regulations properly done "and not just Orange Park be the marijuana capital of the county ..."

"Without knowing what's actually going to happen, we're just being cautious. When something does happen, we'll react at that time and deal with it appropriately, I hope," Nix said of the town's intent to be prepared with appropriate land use regulations for such establishments if Amendment 2 passes. …

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