Miami News

First marijuana dispensary can now open in Miami

Miami finally allowed the city's first medicinal marijuana dispensary to open last week after years of pushback

Although medicinal marijuana was approved by Florida in 2016, the city's long-held stance of prohibiting dispensaries was overturned in a dramatic policy move. Vote on last Thursday allowed locals to operate a marijuana dispensary at 90 NE 11th St., near nightclubs E11even and Space, with the help of a registered dispensary firm.

The dispensary owner will follow the usual permitting procedure of operating a small business, which might take some time. As a result, it's not clear when a dispensary may open. Dispensary firms may seek for licenses because of the vote.

Miami joins other states on marijuana dispensary laws

Until recently, Miami was an exception in Florida when it came to legalizing and regulating medicinal cannabis a trend that has now spread to other states.

Other adjacent local governments have allowed dispensaries in their zoning standards without facing any consequences from federal authorities. This includes Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and unincorporated Miami-Dade County, along with communities around the United States.

A medicinal marijuana cardholder, Commissioner Ken Russell said that the federal government should keep up with the time. It is the residents of Florida that want medical marijuana dispensaries to operate freely in the state.

A marijuana dispensary.

Differing views of commissioners

City commissioners will soon revisit the city's zoning regulations and debate how to limit the locations of dispensaries. Commissioners expressed their differing perspectives during the debate. 

Those who voted against the measure were Joe Carollo and Manolo Reyes. They argued that local officials establishing a strategy before regulating the situation.

Alex Daz de la Portilla and Christine King, both commissioners, believed that the city was on the wrong side of this dispute. According to Daz de la Portilla, the city should honor the 2016 referendum and just control the locations where dispensaries may open. He does not want dispensaries to overcrowd cities.

Deliberations in City Hall have lasted years, at times sparking political conflict and igniting heated exchanges of ideas. This has stirred up a discussion regarding the location of dispensaries in the future. The state permits local governments to control dispensaries in the same manner that they regulate pharmacies.

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