Just one day after Manatee County initiated the process of adopting a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, the city of Bradenton followed suit with a moratorium of its own.
The council on Wednesday unanimously passed the moratorium, which takes effect immediately, according to city attorney Bill Lisch, who began pushing for the moratorium in late October ahead of the Nov. 8 passage of Amendment 2.
“Most of your communities are drafting a moratorium,” he said.
City staff members are confident they can delve into the city’s zoning regulations within the six-month time frame, but Lisch said the moratorium could be extended, if necessary.
Medical marijuana use is a new industry and the cities and counties do not have zoning regulations in place.
Ally Bermann, prevention coordinator for Drug Free Manatee
Mayor Wayne Poston said the passage of Amendment 2 creates some complications.
“We just don’t have a full understanding of it yet and we want to make sure we do,” he said.
The goal of a moratorium is to determine where medical marijuana dispensaries will fit into zoning regulations and to ensure that any future locations don’t have a negative effect on nearby schools, churches, businesses and residents.
Palmetto passed an ordinance in 2014 that regulates medical marijuana dispensaries to the city’s commercial heavy district, and the city does not plan to take further action in preventing permit applications from being submitted.
Drug Free Manatee opposed Amendment 2 and supports the city’s actions in slowing the process down.
“Medical marijuana use is a new industry and the cities and counties do not have zoning regulations in place,” said Prevention Coordinator Ally Bergmann.
Bergmann said the moratorium will allow the city time to ensure dispensaries are properly located.
“We don’t want pot shops to replace the pill mills of several years ago,” she said.
Transgender services offered
The city council Wednesday also passed a new health care policy amendment that will offer full transgender medical services to any employee wishing to change genders. The item went through unanimously on the city’s consent agenda without discussion.
A workshop last week, city administrator Carl Callahan said it won’t be a “significant cost” to taxpayers because there have been no city employees who have come forward requesting the services and very few people complete the required three-year process leading up to surgical alteration.
The process to do so would cost anywhere from $7,000 to $50,000 depending on the gender switch and if the employee completes the full process. The city will now offer the policy as a choice for employees.