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The Villages

Villager Steve Printz officially joins Sumter County Commission

Two public hearings on regulation of medical marijuana clinics have been scheduled by the Sumter County Board.

Hearings will be held at 5 p.m. Dec. 13 and Jan.10 at the county’s historic courthouse in Bushnell. The board, which voted Tuesday night to schedule the hearings, is considering revising the land development code to regulate the clinics.

Florida Amendment 2, which was approved in the Nov. 8 election, expanded the types of cannabis that can be prescribed and eligible medical conditions. In 2014, the Florida Legislature approved limited use of marijuana extract for conditions such as children with seizures.

Under the state constitutional amendment, only doctors and licensed caregivers would be allowed to prescribe and handle the marijuana. Six nurseries in Florida currently are authorized to grow medical marijuana.

About 75 percent of Florida voters approved the amendment and by law it goes into effect on Jan. 3. But the Florida Legislature recently decided to postpone its adoption for six months so that rules can be developed. That means medical marijuana clinics likely won’t open until late 2017 or early 2018.

Sumter County’s land development code revisions will regulate the location and number of medical marijuana dispensaries that will be permitted.

Wildwood also is studying the issue and officials plan to adopt a city ordinance to regulate the clinics.

In other business, Sumter County commissioners elected officers for the coming year. Doug Gilpin was elected chairman, replacing Garry Breeden. Al Butler was named first vice chairman and Don Burgess was selected as second vice chairman.

The board also welcomed Commissioner Steve Printz, a Villager who ran unopposed Nov. 8 and replaces Don Hahnfeldt, who was elected to the Florida House.

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