Only two medical marijuana facilities will be located in Sumter County under proposed ordinance

A proposed Sumter County ordinance sets limits on facilities that dispense medical marijuana.

The ordinance, which will be voted on at a future meeting, was reviewed Tuesday night by the Sumter County Board of Commissioners. A public hearing also was held, but no citizens testified.

“We are bringing this forward primarily because the state of Florida has not provided guidance for these facilities,” said Karl Holley, the county’s development director.

Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment on Nov. 8 that legalizes marijuana for certain medical conditions and permits dispensaries to be established around the state. The state is expected to release guidelines later next year.

The Sumter County ordinance would restrict the number of medical marijuana dispensaries to two, based on one per 67,500. If the county gains 20,000 residents, Holley said an additional dispensary would be permitted.

The same organization would be prohibited from operating both dispensaries in the county, although it could operate more than one if any are added.

Dispensaries may be located only on property zoned commercial or industrial. They could not be located within 250 feet of a school or church, but would not be forced to move if a school or church comes in after the dispensary is established.

They also would be subject to inspection by police, fire and building inspectors and would require an authorization for the premises before opening for business.

Cannabis would have to be stored in a sealed container or locked cabinet and could be dispensed only by authorized employees. If deficiencies are found, the dispensary would be given 30 days to correct them.

Dispensaries would be permitted to make deliveries of cannabis products to residences and businesses.