SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Medical marijuana dispensaries are now permitted in the City of Sarasota after a unanimous vote of support by City Commissioners. This comes just seven months after commissioners unanimously passed a temporary ban on these dispensaries.
About a year and a half ago the City of Sarasota was trying to get ahead of this issue. Commissioners were looking into how to have dispensaries, but also address some community concerns surrounding them. Then the state came in and took the city's ability to regulate away.
Governor Rick Scott had signed a bill that said local governments had to either allow the same zoning laws for dispensaries as any traditional pharmacy or ban it outright. So the City of Sarasota put a temporary ban on dispensaries in order to have time to create a plan that would be accepted city wide.
It took seven months, but finally a resolution was created. That's what was passed last night.
Now, the 20 pharmacies that already exist in the City of Sarasota will be able to dispense medical marijuana, but only in the forms of edibles, oils and vaping.
This resolution also allows other dispensaries to be built in the future, but only in specifically designated areas of the city.
"I'm in support of it because the voters voted for it," Jen Ahearn-Koch says. "Seventy-one percent came out and spoke to us and said this is something that we want, and we want it as part of our community. We don't want to have to go to Bradenton. We don't want to have to go to Venice. We don't want to have to order online. We want it here in our city."
The dispensary ban is lifted effective immediately.