NORTH PORT, Fla. - It's all about location and that's what the city of North Port is trying to figure out when it comes to where to place medical marijuana dispensaries. Back in November, commissioners gave the thumbs up for two medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
Daniel Morris and his wife are part-time residents of North Port. Morris tells us he's all for having these dispensaries in North Port.
"If people want it, they can get it anyway so what's the difference, at least this way it's supervised and you know what's in it," said Morris.
Commissioners agreed that one of the dispensaries would be located to the east of Sumter Boulevard and the other to the west. What's up for discussion now is how close to schools and residential areas these dispensaries can be located. Right now the agreed upon distance is a 1500-foot buffer from schools and residential areas and an 800-foot buffer from homes. City officials say the problem with the current buffer distance is that there are only a handful of locations that would work east of Sumter and none to the west.
"It definitely is restrictive, there's a lot of residential lots in the city, it makes it a little more difficult," said Nicole Galehouse, a planner for the City of North Port. "so we're also presenting some other scenarios that the commission could look at."
What will be discussed with commissioners are distances as close as 150 feet to residential areas and 400 feet to schools and churches.
"We feel we came in with a very highly conservative attitude the first time," said Galehouse. "After further research and analysis we feel comfortable we can scale back on both of those and still protect the safety and welfare of our residents."
Some places in North Port where city officials believe could work for these medical marijuana dispensaries include land at the corner of Sumter and Davis and a strip mall at the corner of Toledo Blade and Davis. North Port resident Randi Crain says she has mixed feelings about medical marijuana, especially in her city.
"I don't really feel comfortable with it, I don't really like the idea of it," said Crain. "I see that there are medical benefits from it but don't think a dispensary should be here in North Port.
This medical marijuana discussion will pick up with city commissioners on Tuesday, April 4th.