PALMETTO — Palmetto solidified a unanimous medical marijuana ban in all cities within Manatee County, becoming the fifth, and last, city to initiate a ban on dispensaries. Bradenton, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria, and Bradenton Beach had already passed similar bans.
The one exception is unincorporated Manatee County, where dispensaries are allowed after the board of commissioners approved zoning dispensaries as pharmacies.
Trulieve is the lone survivor of the medical marijuana battle after having received permits prior to a year-long moratorium on dispensaries and even before the November 2016 election. Trulieve celebrated its grand opening in September in the 1100 block of Bradenton’s 14th Street West.
Palmetto held its first public hearing on Oct. 16, but four days prior to that public hearing the Palmetto Planning and Zoning board voted 4-0 against the ordinance. That information was not given to the city commission on Oct. 16, but was noted on Monday. Two commissioners did ask about the board’s minutes to get an understanding of why they voted unanimously against the ban, but they were only told the minutes were not ready.
The commission had no further discussion and took the vote anyway.
With 71 percent of Floridians voting to legalize marijuana, and 70 percent of Palmetto voters, the commission, as well as the Bradenton City Council, say the ban could be a temporary move. The bans will remain dependent on the outcome of several lawsuits filed against the state, including the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis.
Thus far, only one elected official has directly discussed the overwhelming numbers of voters who supported the legalization effort. Last month, Commissioner Tamara Cornwell said those voices needed to be represented in the conversation, but she ultimately agreed with the sentiment that Palmetto didn’t need to be an experiment while the Legislature sorts out the issue.
Municipalities across the county also were in agreement that since Manatee County approved dispensaries, as well as Trulieve’s location in Bradenton, that the new bans would not provide a hardship for citizens. Whether citizens agree with that notion or not, many are upset that the will of the voters is still being ignored one year after the election.
Mark Young: 941-745-7041, @urbanmark2014
Information from The Bradenton Herald