"It's not the evil we perceive it to be," said commissioner Margaret England as the commission discussed the possibility of bringing medical marijuana dispensaries to the beach.
Current ordinances prohibit dispensaries on the island.
The commission has until November to make a decision to extend the prohibition on medical marijuana, or to enact new ordinances that allow dispensaries.
While many commissioners discussed safety issues, but the most compelling case for dispensaries came from Police Chief Robert Hardwick.
"We're not talking bags of marijuana... this is medicine," said Hardwick. "We're selling prescription narcotics at Walgreens and CVS, that we've had a problem with across the US for years. We've deployed our narcan several times here in our jurisdiction, and saved a couple lives. Nothing to do with medical marijuana use. I think this (medical marijuana) is honestly the least of our problems."
Members of the public also spoke on the issue. All who spoke on the topic agreed that it was time to bring medical marijuana to St. Augustine Beach.
In the end, commissioners chose to renew the existing ordinances, with promises to cut short the extension year once they were able to agree on specifics regarding allowing dispensaries. This means that if the commission gets with the times, we should see dispensaries becoming legal within the next year on the beach.
New laws dictate that dispensaries must be given the same rights as pharmacies regarding location.