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The fight over medical marijuana continues in the Capital even after voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2 last year.
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Brevard County commissioners on Tuesday put off crafting new rules for regulating medical marijuana treatment centers, voting instead to direct staff to come up with a new proposal that included how to control the business of the dispensaries. 

The proposed ordinance the County Commission had been considering dealt primarily with zoning and land-use regulations related to where such facilities could be located. That included the distance they needed to be from residential areas, schools, places of worship and from one another, as well an restrictions on their hours of operation.

County Commissioner Kristine Isnardi suggested that the County Commission and county staff consider looking at those things, but also adding provisions now contained in an ordinance recently approved by the Palm Bay City Council.

More: Medical marijuana dispensary rules debated by commissioners

The Palm Bay measure includes establishment of a five-member Cannabis Dispensing Regulatory Authority that would consider dispensary applications and make recommendations to the Palm Bay City Council.

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Kristine Isnardi, county commissioner whose district includes Palm Bay and who is a former Palm Bay City Council member. (Photo: DAVE BERMAN/FLORIDA TODAY FILE PHOTO)

In Palm Bay, the Cannabis Dispensing Regulatory Authority consists of the city manager, city attorney, chief of police and two members of the public, one of whom preferably will be a doctor. 

The Palm Bay ordinance also has a detailed ranking system for scoring applicants.

That ordinance also includes requirements related to the operation of the business, and requirements allowing for inspection of the dispensing businesses by the police chief, fire chief or building official.

“I want to make sure we don’t miss anything,” said Isnardi, whose County Commission district includes Palm Bay and who is a former Palm Bay City Council member. “I just want to make sure we cross all our T’s and dot all our I’s.”

“I think our ordinance is too basic,” Isnardi said, referring to the proposal before commissioners on Tuesday.

County Commission Chairman Curt Smith asked commissioners to also provide additional input to the county attorney’s office on what they would like to see in the new ordinance.

More: Florida Senate passes medical marijuana implementing bill

County Attorney Scott Knox said he plans to bring back a revised proposal for consideration by county commissioners in July. The County Commission does not meet during June.

The proposed ordinance would need to go through two public hearings before it can be approved.

Florida voters in November approved the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, with more than 71 percent support statewide. Amendment 2 allows medical marijuana to be provided as a treatment for patients with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

It also will allow licensed physicians to certify patients for medical marijuana use after diagnosing them with some “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated.”

Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or dberman@floridatoday.com, on Twitter at @bydaveberman and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dave.berman.54.

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