NEW: Wellington to make final decision on medical pot dispensaries


Wellington’s village council on Monday night will hold a second and final hearing on a proposed zoning change that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the village, with restrictions.

Because state law requires local governments to treat medical pot dispensaries no differently than pharmacies, the new zoning rules would apply to both pharmacies and dispensaries.

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If the measure passes, dispensaries and pharmacies would need to be a minimum of 10,000 square feet, and they would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of a primary or secondary school. Also, one pharmacy or dispensary would be allowed per shopping center, with an exception for pharmacies in grocery stores.

The size, number and distance restrictions would be waived for pharmacies or dispensaries along State Road 7 in standalone buildings or in plazas with frontage on that road.

If the proposed changes are approved, Wellington would be the first municipality in Palm Beach County to change its pharmacy zoning to determine where medical marijuana dispensaries may be built.

In an initial vote on Nov. 14, the council moved 3-2 to approve the changes, with Mayor Anne Gerwig and Councilman Michael Drahos dissenting.

At that meeting, Drahos noted that while 72 percent of Wellington voters supported Amendment 2 in November 2016 to legalize medical pot in Florida, they may not necessarily want dispensaries in the village.

“People like the idea, they just don’t necessarily want it in their backyard,” he said.

But with Wellington “essentially at built-out,” Vice Mayor John McGovern said the village is in a unique position to direct where dispensaries can be located — essentially, the Southern Boulevard corridor.

There will be public comment as part of the hearing. Also at the meeting, the council will discuss an application for a seasonal permit at Polo West Golf Club, three ordinances to continue the village’s work to streamline its land-development regulations and approval of a contract for a housing and economic impact study.



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