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Wellington could be next PBC municipality to allow medical marijuana dispensaries

Posted at 11:24 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 04:14:53-05

The first medical marijuana dispensary in Palm Beach County opened in Lake Worth Tuesday and while some cities in the county have voted to not allow them, Wellington might be the next municipality to approve them.

On a 3 to 2 vote, Wellington is now one step closer to allowing medical marijuana to be sold inside village limits. 

RELATED: More Medical Marijuana coverage

John McGovern, Wellington’s vice mayor, says the vote is an extension of its approval on the state level last year. 

“The allowance of medical marijuana was on the ballot in 2016 and passed overwhelmingly in Wellington,” McGovern said in an interview. 

After it passed in Tallahassee, local municipalities had the option to ban them or allow them in buildings zoned as if they were pharmacies. 

By prescription only, it approves the sale of euphoria inducing oils and edibles in buildings at least 1,000 feet from schools, in a building with an area of at least 10,000 square feet. 

“A lot of people say we’re the oldest business in Wellington,” said Jay Henley, manager of Schaefer Drugs, a local pharmacy. 

A dispensary wouldn’t be allowed in the same plazas as pharmacies, like the one Schaefer Drugs is in. 

“The council seems to take care of the community, especially recently. So whatever they decide, it’s probably going to be best for the community,” Henley said. 

Businesses along 441/State Road 7 would be exempt from those rules. 

“We’re kind of in between a rock and a hard place,” said Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig in an interview. Gerwig says sick people should get the care they need but she can’t support this proposed law. 

“My concern is this is a cash only business. It’s still federally illegal. They can’t deposit the money into a federal bank account,” she said. “If the voters want this, it needs to be cleared federally.”

McGovern acknowledged the feds deeming it illegal is a concern but the job of council is to see trends and speak for voters. 

“We don’t know what the federal law will say in the future but we know where we currently stand in this state at this time,” he said. 

The next vote will likely happen in the first meeting in January. The public will have an opportunity to address the council.