CRESTVIEW — The City Council adopted an ordinance, on first read, prohibiting operation of medical marijuana dispensaries within the city.

At the Monday meeting, Ordinance 1629 was brought before the council to decide whether to amend Chapter 18 Article III, Cannabis Related Activities. The decision was unanimous to adopt the ordinance amendment.

Before the vote, Joshua Littrell with Veterans for Cannabis approached the council, begging them to allow local veterans access to medical marijuana.

Jessica Wirth, a student at Florida A&M College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, presented the council with information regarding medical cannabis.

According to her presentation, medical marijuana would only be given to those with debilitating illnesses, not allowing just anyone to receive a prescription. Further, medical marijuana would be regulated similarly to alcohol when it comes to DUI convictions.

Wirth compared the risks and benefits of medical marijuana to those of nicotine and soda, showing there were very few health risks from cannabis. She also highlighted the positive economic impact medical marijuana has had on states such as Colorado where it is legal, as well as the decreased crime rates.

After Wirth’s presentation, Councilman Doug Faircloth said he still had concerns about marijuana eventually becoming legal for recreational use. Faircloth said he is in favor of cannabis oil, but not other forms.

Growth Management Director Teresa Gaillard said the council had two options: to do nothing, not banning medical marijuana dispensaries and not being able to regulate them; or they could ban them altogether.

Councilman Shannon Hayes said the state has not done a good job of providing information after legalizing medical marijuana, therefore, he doesn’t know enough about it to be in favor of allowing dispensaries.

Hayes said he doesn’t want to say Crestview should never allow dispensaries, but they should ban them now until they know more. Gaillard said the city will continue to monitor regulations within the state and update the council with any new information.

Councilman Joe Blocker made the motion to adopt the ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries within Crestview, and Faircloth seconded the motion.

The motion passed with all in favor, and the ordinance will be discussed in an upcoming workshop and the council will hold a second reading in November.