After some controversy, it looks like the city of Tampa will finally get medical marijuana. City council members agreed on Thursday to green light medicinal cannabis under some strict conditions.
Council members agreed in a 6-1 vote Thursday night on an ordinance that regulates medical marijuana dispensaries and processing plants in the city of Tampa. Councilman Charles Miranda was the only person to vote “No” on the bill.
Strict city guidelines require the medicinal cannabis facilities to open at least 500 feet away from school buildings and restrict them to just commercial and industrial zones within Tampa. However, owners are allowed to request an exemption if necessary, to open up shop in restricted areas.
“We’re limiting the dispensaries to places that have the normal kind of retail you would expect.” Tampa Councilman Harry Cohen said. “What you’re going to see here is a much more controlled evolution and growth in terms of how many of these are allowed”.
The Council also agreed that medical marijuana dispensaries and processing facilities can be operated in the same working building, as long as there are two separate entrances.
However, not everyone at the meeting was on board with the city’s decision. Two local mothers showed up at the pow-wow to voice their concerns about an influx of dispensaries. One of the mothers, Teresa Miller, believes cannabis acts as a gateway drug.
“Years ago, when my son smoked pot and spring boarded to opioids, a severe addiction, I told myself if I could save one family from going through what our family and thousands of families around our state have gone through with a disease of addiction, then I would,” Miller said.
Miller also showed the council a map of 15 local pharmacies. She claimed she was worried that the dispensaries would expand to a similar number.
“If we get that many pot dispensaries around our country, it’s going to be disastrous. We need to protect our children and our communities.” Miller noted.