Orlando City Council moves forward with medical marijuana dispensary plan

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando council members moved forward with a plan Tuesday to allow up to seven medical marijuana dispensaries inside city limits.

Medical pot was approved statewide during last year's election, but many cities are still working on the rules for how business will operate.

The municipal planning board approved recommendations to keep medical marijuana dispensaries at least 1,000 feet away from parks, schools, places of worship and childcare centers.

Kristine Gramm, who has a baby, was glad to see the city putting safeguards in place.

“I think that's good that they're going through all the steps to make sure it's safe.” Gramm said.

The restrictions for dispensaries are similar to those regulating bars in the city.

Unlike bars, though, medical marijuana dispensaries can't ask for a variance that would allow them to set up within the 1,000-foot restriction.

Resident Monica Mitchem appreciates the regulations because she doesn’t want to see a dispensary on every block.

“I don't have a problem with medical marijuana dispensaries at all,” she said. “I just don't want dispensaries all over the place.”

The council plan would allow up to seven dispensaries in the city, but they would also be prohibited from setting up within 200 feet of a neighborhood.

The city recommended that the three dispensaries previously approved be grandfathered and given a permit to expand to full scale medical marijuana sales.

However, before they open, the city wants the Orlando Police Department to approve the security plan for each location.