Cocoa Beach City Council approves medical marijuana ordinance

Leaders say move made to limit potential future clinics

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - The Cocoa Beach City Council on Thursday approved a medical marijuana ordinance in a 4-1 vote.

In the past several months, the council has held five public workshops and meetings to discuss the ordinance, which regulates where medical marijuana dispensaries can be within the city. Under the ordinance, dispensaries could open up near the pier and Ron Jon Surf Shop.

City leaders said they drafted the ordinance ahead of the state vote in November to legalize medical marijuana, in an effort to prevent the clinics from popping up all over town. The two locations were not necessarily targeted, but with restrictions blocking the dispensaries from being within a certain distance from schools, homes, churches and main roads, they were the only locations left in the 4-square-mile city.

"If you've never been to Cocoa Beach, you've heard of the pier and you've heard of Ron Jons, and these are the two places where we're going to put marijuana dispensaries? That doesn't make sense to me," said Cocoa Beach resident Bill Geiger.

Geiger was one of several residents to voice concern over the approved locations at Thursday night's council meeting. Others argued discussing and approving the ordinance before medical marijuana is legalized in Florida was a waste of time.

"There was no reason to come up with this whatsoever. (They're) not even waiting for Amendment 2 to pass or not pass in November," one resident told the council.

The property owners of the land will still have to approve what's done with it. Representatives with the Pier and Ron Jon have both said they'd have a lot to consider before granting permission for dispensaries to open up on their land.

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