Boynton Beach to join Lake Worth in welcoming medical pot dispensaries

Boynton Beach city officials on Tuesday took the first step to make it official: They are joining Lake Worth in welcoming medical marijuana dispensaries.

The commission in August said they’d allow the dispensaries but had to vote two times to pass an ordinance regulating them. Tuesday was the first vote. Commissioners Christina Romelus and Mack McCray voted against it. Mayor Steven Grant, Vice Mayor Justin Katz and Commissioner Joe Casello voted for it. 

The second and last vote is expected in November.

Dispensaries are where the medical marijuana is sold. The product is not grown or manufactured there, said Andrew Mack, Boynton’s director of development.

Besides Boynton, only Lake Worth and unincorporated areas of Palm Beach County have welcomed the medical marijuana shops.

Palm Beach Gardens, Delray Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Lantana, Mangonia Park and Palm Springs have voted to outlaw the dispensaries. Jupiter, Wellington and Boca Raton haven’t officially voted yet.

The state law Gov. Rick Scott signed, which went into effect July 1, said cities can't limit the number of shops in town. And state law says rules for locating dispensaries can't be tougher than those for pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens.

In August, both city staff and Police Chief Jeffrey Katz recommended commissioners wait on approving the dispensaries. 

Mack said it would be best to see how surrounding places handle the industry. And for those in the city who need the medicine, Mack said, state law allows home delivery. 

As for public safety, Katz said the state hasn't given law enforcement guidance on policing it. 

"At this point we just don't have the capacity to be able to verify that someone does or does not have a legal prescription for the substance," Katz said.

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