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Florida medical marijuana legalization considerations

By now, everyone in Florida is probably aware of the possibility that medical marijuana may become legalized in the state. The measure is up for a vote on the November ballot. With the decision regarding the issue looming, residents might wonder about how the legalization of medical marijuana would affect communities if it passes.

As it stands, all possession of marijuana in Florida is a crime. If medical marijuana becomes legal, residents might start seeing marijuana dispensaries around the cities they frequent. While this might seem like an atrocity to some residents, people in some areas are embracing the idea. Such a law would not make all use of marijuana legal. Individuals who do not need it for medical purposes could still face criminal charges.

In Cocoa Beach, for example, lawmakers have approved a dispensary location along the pier, which is a popular spot. Another would be near the iconic Ron John Surf shop if medical marijuana becomes legal. Commissioners from the city did say that these were really the only areas suitable for the shops because of location restrictions.

If medical marijuana does become legal, dispensaries cannot be set up near churches, schools or homes. Another restriction keeps the shops from being placed on main roads.

Orange County officials are trying to add another layer of protection against " pot shops" in the are around International Boulevard, a famous tourist spot. The county officials are not totally against the idea of medical marijuana dispensaries, however. They are looking into the possibility of having the shops near areas classified as industrial. 

People who are interested in learning about medical marijuana in Florida can look into getting information. The Florida Bar Association’s Board of Governors is allowing members to work with clients who are interested in opening a dispensary. Consulting firms are also starting to work with people.

Even if the measure is approved, there is a chance that people managing dispensaries and landlords who have building housing dispensaries could be at risk for facing federal charges. This is why it is important for anyone interested in medical marijuana to understand the laws, risks, and consequences associated with the issue.

Source: Florida Watchdog, "Local governments get ready for legalized medical marijuana," Marianela Toledo, June 26, 2014

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