Chances are no medical-marijuana dispensaries will be located in most of Lake County anytime soon, but Mascotte officials are ready to roll out the welcome mat.
County commissioners voted unanimously last week to move ahead with plans to ban dispensaries in unincorporated areas, taking the current moratorium up a notch. A final vote is due to take place Oct. 24.
Commissioners noted that people still will be able to purchase medical marijuana without driving too far. Dispensaries are open in The Villages and Orlando. Also, Mount Dora, in addition to Mascotte, is willing to accept dispensaries.
Mascotte City Manager Jim Gleason said the south Lake city, population 5,515, has had inquires “and will treat an application no different than any other legally approved and licensed business.”
He noted that medical marijuana was approved by a large majority of voters — 71 percent in a 2016 statewide referendum.
“I would think the county and any other local government if they were serious about drug abuse would provide greater oversight and regulation of opioids than worry about a cancer patient getting a legal prescription for marijuana,” Gleason said in an email. “The last thing we are worried in Mascotte about is a cancer patient or caregiver coming to a safe and highly regulated medical pharmacy for a prescription.
“It is not a methadone clinic and there will be no long lines or ‘bad people’ coming to your city to get their quick fix, they are already at your local Walgreens or CVS.”
A major issue, county officials said, are rules that forbid local governments from treating dispensaries different than pharmacies, which usually are along busy roads.
“To me this is an issue with the state not giving us the ability locally to regulate it,” Commissioner Sean Parks said. He also said