homepage logo

Public hearings held for medical marijuana dispensary, formula retail stores

By Staff | Nov 15, 2017

The City of Sanibel held its first reading for the prohibition of medical marijuana dispensing facilities within the city boundaries. The second reading will be held in December.

City Attorney Ken Cuyler said the item was both a public hearing and first reading because the statue says when dealing with prohibited uses, permitted uses in your land code, you have to have two public hearings. The ordinance, he said places a prohibition under the statue on dispensaries within the City of Sanibel.

“The reason staff is recommending this is that the way the statue was formulated as an end product, we had assumed there would be the authority, cities and counties, to regulate numbers, regulate exact locations. The way the legislature framed the statue, you have the ability to ban them, you do not have the ability to limit them. You have to treat them as pharmacies under the same zoning criteria you would treat a pharmacy,” Cuyler said. “The City of Sanibel can’t say we will have one medical marijuana dispensary, or we will have two.”

The ordinance was written from the direction the City Council provided staff last month, which can be overturned in the future if the council desires.

“The ordinance in front of us gives us flexibility in the future. If we didn’t do something we would lose all flexibility,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said. “This will be a fluid ordinance.”

Cuyler said they are still in the very early stages of dealing with medical marijuana dispensaries.

“I’m sure the state legislature is going to be making some changes to the legislation,” he said.

The other second reading, and public hearing was conducted concerning formula retail stores, which was approved by City Council.

The ordinance amended the definition of formula retail. Formula retail, according to the new verbiage “Mean a type of retail sales activity, or retail sales establishment with three or more store locations.” In addition, the maximum “percentage of commercial floor area (balance and mix of business) occupied by formula retail stores to increase the total amount of commercial floor area of formula retail from 50,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet when Planning Commission review and City Council approval is required for a new formula retail store.”