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Following the lead of Orlando and Winter Garden city commissions, Orange County commissioners voted Tuesday to impose a temporary moratorium on medicinal marijuana activities in the county’s unincorporated areas.

The measure will expire May 23, 2017, or sooner if commissioners adopt new land rules to regulate the emerging medical marijuana industry.

During the nine-month time-out, the county will not issue any development permits for medicinal pot operations. County planning staff will study the potential impact of marijuana dispensaries on county businesses and residents, and weed through land-development rules.

Local governments can limit the number and location of distribution facilities within their borders as long as their rules do not conflict with state law.

Some critics have said storefront pot dispensaries should not be allowed to operate near neighborhoods, churches and schools.

The state Legislature legalized a non-euphoric version of marijuana in 2014 that is used to treat children with seizure disorders. But Florida voters will consider a referendum in November that could legalize pot for treatment of other medical conditions.

shudak@orlandosentinel.com or 407-650-6361

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