By DOTTY NIST
A Feb. 14 public hearing is scheduled in order for Walton County to consider a temporary moratorium on growing, cultivating, processing, manufacturing, dispensing, and distributing medical marijuana (cannnabis) and the retail and wholesale sale of medical marijuana in Walton County.
At its Jan. 10 regular meeting, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved advertising and holding the public hearing upon a recommendation by Mark Davis, county attorney.
Plans for the hearing follow 2016 action by the Florida Legislature that legalized the cultivation, production, and dispensing of “medical cannabis” to “eligible patients” as defined by Florida Statutes—and a November 2016 decision by Florida voters to amend the Florida Constitution to legalize cultivation, production, and dispensing of the substance for a broader population of eligible patients. In Walton County, voters favored the latter amendment by more than two to one.
Dispensing of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
On Jan. 10, Davis told the commissioners that there are currently no criteria in the Walton County Land Development Code (LDC) for location of medical marijuana dispensaries or cultivation sites. He recommended that Walton County consider imposing the moratorium as allowed by state law, which would provide for a period of 240 days or less within which the commissioners could examine whether they would develop criteria for location of these dispensaries and/or cultivation sites within the unincorporated area and, if so, would be able to amend the LDC for addition of these criteria.
The commissioners voted unanimously to advertise and hold the hearing. It is to take place in conjunction with the 4 p.m. Feb. 14 BCC meeting at the South Walton Annex.