Orange County Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

November 15, 2017

By: Tara L. Tedrow

Though over 71% of Florida voters in 2016 approved Amendment 2 to allow medical marijuana, the numbers were higher in Orange County. Over 73% of Orange County voters said yes to Amendment 2, and that support was reflected in the turnout of supporters at the November 14th Orange County Board of County Commission hearing.

After testimony from advocates, patients, lawyers and industry representatives, Orange County commissioners unanimously voted to approve medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Orange County. Despite the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendation to ban such dispensaries, the Board of County Commissioners sided with the will of the people.

Effective January 1, 2018, medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted and shall be treated the same as pharmacies for zoning purposes, except that they must be located at least 500 feet away from a school. Commercial zoning districts, such as C-1, C-2 and C-3 zoning designations, would be permitted to have a medical marijuana dispensary. However, such dispensaries must meet the statutory requirements for security, licensing, screening, and signage. The outcome of last night’s hearing will certainly impact the County’s real estate industry and will provide for increased accessibility and options for qualified patients. Stay tuned for more updates on this in the future.

For more information on the ordinance and staff reports provided for the hearing, click here.