Orange County Proposed Medical Marijuana Zoning Laws

Orange County’s proposed medical marijuana zoning law wouldn’t just affect unincorporated areas, it would impact every city that doesn’t have its own zoning.

The Orange County Planning & Zoning Commission on Sept. 18 will take a first vote on a proposed ordinance to limit medical marijuana treatment centers to industrial areas. That clears the way for two more public hearings with the full board of county commissioners Oct. 14 and Nov. 11.
The proposed ordinance, which limits medical marijuana to heavy industrial and general industrial areas, wouldn’t just limit the zoning in unincorporated areas; rather, it would limit medical marijuana facilities “within the comparable zoning district of the incorporated area of any municipality (if any), as determined by that municipality, that does not maintain an ordinance covering the same subject matter, activity or conduct.”
In short, the county zoning would be the de facto zoning unless a city passes its own ordinance.

“Because of the county’s charter, its ordinances can be operative in the cities if the particular city has not adopted code provisions on the same subject matter,” said Miranda Fitzgerald, a land use attorney with Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed PA in Orlando. Both Maitland and Winter Park are working on their own zoning laws. Check here for a medical marijuana fact sheet from the county.

“If the proposed amendment allowing the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions ultimately passes on Nov. 4, public health and safety will remain our top priority,” said Dr. Christopher Hunter, acting director of Orange Orange County Health Services, in a statement to Orlando Business Journal .“We want to be prepared to make sure that implementation is handled within the regulations imposed by the state and with the safety and security of children, families and visitors at the forefront of our actions.”

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