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Legislature to blame for extending medical marijuana moratorium, city says

A medical marijuana dispensary on 14th Street West is currently under renovation with Tallahassee-based Trulieve hoping to open some time this fall. Interior renovations are progressing quickly. Trulieve came in under the wire of Bradenton’s dispensary moratorium, which the city has extended.
A medical marijuana dispensary on 14th Street West is currently under renovation with Tallahassee-based Trulieve hoping to open some time this fall. Interior renovations are progressing quickly. Trulieve came in under the wire of Bradenton’s dispensary moratorium, which the city has extended. myoung@bradenton.com

Medical marijuana dispensaries hoping to do business in Bradenton will have to wait another six months after the city extended its moratorium on Wednesday.

The one exception is the Trulieve dispensary in the 1100 block of 14th Street West, which filed for permits prior to the initial moratorium enacted in December. Interior renovations to the dispensary are progressing. Trulieve, under Bradenton 14 RE Holding LLC, purchased the building in September for $335,000.

A Trulieve representative did not immediately return a call for comment, but the company’s plans to open some time this fall remain on track at last report. The company is already licensed to dispense cannabis products under existing Florida law that includes relief for terminal patients and low-level THC products for specific ailments. Amendment 2, which passed with 71 percent of the vote in November, expands medicinal uses, but the Legislature has failed to provide guidance to the Florida Department of Health to adopt regulations.

That, in turn, has left municipalities in the dark as to how cities and counties can address dispensaries in their codes. Moratorium extensions enacted late last year were to give the Legislature time to do that work but with no action, Bradenton city attorney Bill Lisch said an extension was necessary.

This extension is just allowing the state to come with their regulations before we go nilly willy in allowing things to happen that could be contrary to what the state will allow.

City attorney Bill Lisch

“The case right now is that the Legislature didn’t pass any guidelines to adopt the amendment,” Lisch said. “This extension is just allowing the state to come with their regulations before we go nilly willy in allowing things to happen that could be contrary to what the state will allow.”

Dr. Beverly Newman applauded the council’s decision to extend the moratorium.

“I’m very thankful that the city recognizes that dispensaries are a matter of great importance and not to be treated lightly,” Newman said.

Lisch said the city will eventually move forward, but the extension was necessary, “until we can figure out what’s going on.”

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