The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners will not be voting on a one year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries this evening as previously scheduled. The board will, however, be leaving the public hearing on tonight’s agenda intact in order to accommodate what Commissioner Doug Underhill predicted should be a “robust discussion” on the issue.
“Even if we don’t make a decision on this today, it’s a valuable opportunity to get inside each other’s heads,” Underhill said during the morning agenda review session.
The commissioners were set to conduct the second of two public hearings tonight on the moratorium, which Chairman Grover Robinson had said would be useful in order to afford county staff time to determine how best to accommodate medical marijuana dispensaries in the land development code. Currently, a select group of Floridians are allowed to medicinally use low-THC marijuana; in November, voters could approve a constitutional amendment which would allow a much broader population base access to more traditional, or higher-THC, marijuana.
Robinson was not in attendance during the morning session, but County Administrator Jack Brown relayed a written communication from the chairman which requested that the board delay any vote on the matter “unless there is a solid consensus.” In light of that request, the commissioners indicated that they would hold off.
A hearing — effectively a community discussion — on the issue will still take place, with the commissioners having already decided to delay any action. The commissioners indicated that hearing from the community would be informative, and Brown said the conversation would also be useful for county staff.
Tonight’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the county’s downtown governmental complex.
To read more about Escambia’s potential moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, read Is Escambia’s Marijuana Moratorium Half Baked?