Orlando commissioners extend time to create guidelines on medical marijuana dispensaries

ORLANDO, Fla. — The city of Orlando wants more time to figure out where marijuana dispensaries can be located now that voters have approved medical marijuana.

Orlando commissioners extended a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries by six months, but the question remains as to how long before people can get a prescription for marijuana.

It likely won’t be until next summer or fall, because the state still needs to set guidelines for how the process will work.

The extension to July 1 gives commissioners more time to come up with land rules on where the facilities can go.

“With the passage of the ballot language last Tuesday, as well as the change in the rules, we thought there was only going to end up being one dispensary in our community, but there can be any number of dispensaries,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Last week, voters approved Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana to treat certain conditions.

While the change will take effect in January, the group United for Care said the ballot language gives the state up to six months to create rules for the process.

Patients won't be able to get their medicine until after that. In the meantime, area governments are focusing on dispensaries. While recreational pot isn't legal, Dyer said the city wants to be prepared.

“We're going to have to make sure we're ready if in the future it passes on a statewide level, and recreational is approved,” Dyer said.

Several communities have discussed keeping the dispensaries away from schools and churches.

United for Care said it supports local regulations as long as patients still have reasonable access to marijuana.

Monday’s moratorium goes until July 1, but the city wants to have its proposals ready a month earlier.