CHIPLEY - As the August expiration date of the medical marijuana moratorium approaches, Washington County Commissioners are preparing to establish local regulations for medical marijuana dispensing facilities and legal cultivation or growing.
County Planner David Wood shared a draft of an ordinance when the board met in a workshop Wednesday for commissioners to consider as they mull what regulations should be placed locally.
The proposed ordinance would require those wishing to establish a medical cannabis dispensary to first prove their certification from the state to do so as outlined in the Compassionate Use Act before beginning the process of requesting approval and premises authorization from the county, with subsequent certificates issued by the county to expire after three years.
A scoring system was also outlined in the sample draft, stating applications would be reviewed on a 100-point criteria scale. The scale would evaluate factors such as the applicant's previous retail experience in a regulated market in any state, quality of cannabis derivative products to be sold, and the qualifications of the applicant's security team and medical director,
The document proposed that facilities would be subject to inspection by law enforcement, fire officials, or building inspectors and that no dispensaries could be located within 1,320 feet of any public or private school, church, park, or childcare center.
The draft also addressed how Washington County's youth would perceive medical marijuana, prohibiting unaccompanied minors from being on the premises, banning advertising designed to appeal to children such as cartoonish imagery, and requiring the developer to prepare curriculum and lesson plans designed to educate Washington County students on the difference between medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana, as well as the "dangers of recreational marijuana use."
Like other Washington County businesses, dispensaries would have to meet standards established in the county's Land Development Code, and any signs for the facility would be restricted to the premises only.
Commissioners are expected to adopt the medical marijuana ordinance when the board convenes in regular session August 24.