Orange Co. leaders take up medical marijuana issue before it hits ballot



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County leaders are taking up the medical marijuana issue even before it hits the ballot.

"We know it's going to pass," said Kim Russell for People United for Medical Marijuana.

Orange County commissioners are trying to get ahead of the issue. They're hoping to regulate how and where pot can be sold before the measure to legalize medical marijuana goes to the voters in November.

Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards said, "This is going to be a huge change for our state and for our community."

During a workshop Tuesday, commissioners focused on recommendations from county staff on how to regulate the marijuana dispensaries. Under consideration is restricting them to heavily industrial areas.

Jeff Deal breaks down Orange County official's top concerns about medical marijuana

The thought is they want to keep the drugs away from the family friendly and tourist areas central Florida is known for.

"We don't want to have the terrible problems other states have had, especially, you know, Los Angeles, where you have pot shops all over the place," said Edwards.

But Edwards said he's worried about making the regulations too restrictive, especially after residents expressed concerns about their safety and the danger that comes with a lot of cash changing hands.

Business owner Victor Landani said, "The patients will be 100 percent safe inside, (but) coming and going may be a different story."

Other proposed regulations could restrict hours of operation, keep clinics away from schools, churches, and day cares. Also, they could address restricting the size and types of signs used at the marijuana businesses.