Destin – The city needs to place into law certain regulations on possible marijuana medical dispensaries and can always look at amending such rules later, City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell said at Monday’s council meeting.
Most of her fellow council members agreed, and then approved adopting an ordinance that restricts such dispensaries to Destin’s industrial district.
Most of the district is located within the southeast quadrant of Main Street and Airport Road. Any dispensaries set up there would have to stand at least 330 feet from the nearest right-of-way of Main Street and Airport Road – effectively placing them more than a football field length’s away from schools, churches, parks and other public gathering spots.
The operators of Vapor Wizard, 743 Harbor Blvd., had recently expressed interest in opening a dispensary in their existing building, which is not in the industrial district.
However, “We’re not looking to fight any battles,” Jack Varnell, consultant to Vapor Wizard owner Alan Dixon, told the council Monday before it voted on the ordinance. “We have bigger fish to fry when the state starts regulating” dispensaries early next year.
Chatham Morgan and Tuffy Dixon were the only council members to vote against the ordinance’s adoption.
A possible dispensary doesn’t necessarily have to stand along Harbor Boulevard, “but the 330-foot restriction is too strict,” Morgan said. “T-shirt shops, tattoo parlors and sex shops have fewer restrictions.”
Dixon, who voted for the ordinance during its first reading on Nov. 7, announced he was changing his mind for Monday’s second and final reading.
“It’s very clear that people want access” to medical marijuana, he said.
Passed by Florida voters on Nov. 8, Amendment 2 legalizes euphoric medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating diseases, such as cancer and AIDS, or comparable debilitating conditions. It expands legislation that already permits more-limited medical marijuana and will take effect Jan. 3, according to state Health Department information.