Leaders vote to stop new Medical Marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James cast the tie-breaking vote on a final motion to prohibit new medical marijuana dispensaries to open and operate in the city limits during Monday night’s meeting.
In a 3-to-2 vote, the city commission made it official to ban future shops. This will not impact the nine existing establishments currently operating.
The decision comes after months of back and forth on the issue.
During the meeting, a few commissioners spoke on the need to act now as businesses continue to pop up citywide, especially before the upcoming 2024 elections, which could include an amendment to legalize recreational use for adults 21 or over in the state.
"I think it’s prudent that we move to prohibit now, in the absence of a moratorium, because it is likely that this referendum that will be presented to the people of Florida will pass, for the recreational use of marijuana,” West Palm Beach District 4 Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi said. “I think if we don't do something now, in the form of either a moratorium or an outright prohibition, that we're going to see a number of other businesses coming in attempting to set up prior to that statewide referendum."
The city attorney followed up on that concern – closing it by saying it’s a wait-and-see.
“It depends on what the changes the state will make to that statute that regulates medical marijuana to allow for recreational marijuana and what that looks like,” City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg said.