Which Florida Cities and Counties Are Medical Marijuana Friendly? Research from Your Miami Medical Marijuana Attorney
Posted on December 16, 2016 by Jeffrey FeilerMedical marijuana in Florida may have become a part of the State's constitution this November, but there are still a few hurdles to get through before it becomes the well-oiled machine we look forward to. Medical marijuana's implementation throughout the state will depend upon regulations and ordinances made by counties, cities, and municipalities. As an experienced Miami medical marijuana attorney, I'd like to help you understand the breadth of the law and the confusing months that will follow.
In some cities, either Commissions, Councils, and City Attorneys will determine whether or not they wish to have medical marijuana operations in their jurisdiction. So, a big question for prospective Floridians and entrepreneurs is naturally, "Where do I open my MMTC?" In order to figure this out, we need to first examine the current state of medical marijuana in Florida. Since the State already has a few dispensaries open, some of this groundwork has already been laid – the demand is there; it remains to be determined who will provide it and where dispensaries can be established.
The Demand for Medical Marijuana in Florida
The Amendment itself passed, meeting the required supermajority of 60 percent by a whopping 11 percent. With 71 percent approval, we're looking at a safer medical world for patients with chronic, debilitating diseases. Looking at the big picture, according to Florida's Financial Impact Estimating Conference on the Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions, the estimated number of medical marijuana users in Florida will be around 450,000 – and the number could increase depending on the conditions that qualify for treatment.
Based on this estimate and figures from Colorado facilities, the Florida Department of Health extrapolated that Florida would need approximately 1,993 medical marijuana treatment centers to meet the needs of the estimated number of qualified patients.
This is great for prospective entrepreneurs and the economy of Florida as well. In 2015, a study by the EDR estimated the potential annual sales tax revenue from medical marijuana for both state and local governments increase by $67 million, with projected sales of $1.4 billion. This study was also based on Colorado's experience and revenue growth. That's quite a bit of profit for prospective medical marijuana entrepreneurs and MMTCs (Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers).
Amendment 2 and the expanded qualifying medical conditions become effective on January 3, 2017. Until the new regulations are implemented (by June of 2017), only a few Dispensing Organizations can legally distribute medical marijuana. For 2016, House Bill 307 permits the existing Dispensing Organizations to produce a higher THC product for terminal patients.
South Florida Gives Mixed Approval to MMJ
North Miami Beach has passed zoning laws as of November 2016 to allow products to be purchased. Seven locations near Jackson North Medical Center and along Biscayne Boulevard will be permitted to sell medical marijuana. Zoning laws prevent dispensaries from opening within a certain radius of schools and churches (via Miami Herald).
"I'm sure that a lot of cities are going to try to zone it out [through over-regulation], and my research is to the effect that once the Legislature says something is legal, you can't do that," said Smith. "You can't say we're not going to have strip clubs in our city, and you can't say we're not going to have marijuana dispensaries in our city because it's a legal business."
- Jose Smith, North Miami Beach City Attorney
Other locations in Miami-Dade County that have been approved for marijuana dispensaries are based on zoning laws. Miami-Dade's ordinance prohibits dispensaries from opening within 500 feet of a residential area or within 1,000 feet of a school. Also, dispensaries may not open within one mile of each other.
Cocoa Beach Says Yes to MMJ
City Commissioners have approved a dispensary by the pier at Cocoa Beach, and yet another one in close proximity to the Ron Jon Surf shop (via Watchdog.org).
The Following Cities Have Issued Moratoriums Regarding Dispensaries
These may not be viable locations for your future MMTC. Other cities have implemented temporary bans on MMJ dispensaries and MMTCs. These cities include:
• Coral Gables
• Deerfield Beach
• Boca Raton
• Miami Beach
• Miami Springs
• Delray Beach
It's important to note that many of these moratoriums are temporary, pending regulations implemented by the Department of Health. It's more and more important to establish a relationship with officials in the city and county you plan to plant roots in.
Consult with an experienced lawyer who was there when Colorado implemented marijuana laws. Feiler Marijuana Law can help you learn how to start a compliant medical marijuana enterprise. Contact us at (305) 662-5663 today.