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Posted: 6:52 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016

Jacksonville's beach cities mull temporary bans on medical marijuana shops

The tax man cometh: California ponders legal pot, paying up
FILE - In this April 20, 2016 file photo, customers buy products at the Harvest Medical Marijuana Dispensary in San Francisco, Calif. State tax collectors are taking initial steps to get a hand into the vast, emerging economy, with billions of dollars at stake in the future for the state treasury. State analysts have estimated that state and local governments could eventually collect over $1 billion annually from the production and sale of legal pot. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

By Kevin Clark

Action News Jax

More cities in Northeast Florida are reacting to the passage of Amendment 2.

Hundreds of thousands of Floridians can be eligible for medical marijuana next year, with a possible 2,000 dispensaries in business.

But Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic Beaches are all considering temporary bans for these businesses, according to our partner Action News Jax.

Jacksonville Beach city manager George Forbes said they’re not trying to prevent the dispensaries, but instead will create regulations for where they’ll go.

“We’re not so interested in having them in the downtown area, and more interested in having them in general commercial zones,” said Forbes.

Jacksonville Beach has proposed a one-year ban.

Neptune Beach has proposed a three-year ban.

Both proposals say the ban provides time for officials to determine how dispensing should be permitted.

They also cite possible negative secondary effects on surrounding land use and communities.

“I think they were just being cautious,” said Julie Kelly, who works at BioMax Health Food Store.

She said she doesn’t believe beach dispensaries would hurt neighboring businesses, as long as doctors don’t over prescribe.

“I don’t worry about that at all,” said Kelly. “I would think it’d be like any other drug that is regulated by the state and researched.”

Council members in Jacksonville Beach will hear the ordinance proposal on Dec. 5.

In Neptune Beach, the ordinance will be heard early next year.

Atlantic Beach records show council members discussed a temporary ban earlier this month, but our calls to the city went unreturned Wednesday.

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