Schuh and Council craft compromise marijuana bill

| October 14, 2015 | 1 Comment

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weedWorking towards a consensus on responsible zoning legislation for medical marijuana facilities, County Executive Steve Schuh tonight announced an agreement among Council Vice-Chairman Pete Smith and Councilmen Derek Fink, John Grasso, and Michael Peroutka that would strictly regulate where the growing, processing, and dispensing of marijuana would take place in the County. 

“While the current state law continues to present challenges, we have come together to propose some of the strictest medical marijuana zoning regulations in Maryland” said Schuh. “I thank Council Vice-Chairman Pete Smith and Councilmen Derek Fink, John Grasso, and Michael Peroutka for working with our administration to come to a solution that best serves the people of Anne Arundel County.”

“This agreement is an example of how government should work,” said Council Vice Chairman Pete Smith (D-District 1). “We have come together with a strong consensus that balances the public safety and policy concerns against the legitimate medical needs of our citizens.”

“We need to ensure this activity is tightly regulated in a smart and responsible way,” said Councilman Derek Fink (R-District 3). “The proposed amendment to the County Executive’s bill achieves those goals while limiting the impact on public safety.”

The proposal would tightly regulate where facilities that grow, dispense, and process medical marijuana would be permitted. Some of the provisions under the amendment to the County Executive’s proposed zoning legislation would include:

  • Medical marijuana growing and processing facilities would not be permitted within of 1000 feet of dwellings and schools.
  • Medical marijuana dispensaries would not be permitted within of 1000 feet of dwellings and schools north of Route 50 and east of the South River.
  • Special exception zoning, which requires a public hearing, will be required for facilities. 
  • Marijuana dispensaries will not be allowed in mixed use zoned areas in the County.
  • Marijuana dispensaries may not be located closer than one mile apart.
  • Growing operations must be on at least 10 acres.
  • Growing operations may not emanate light at night.
  • Growing facilities must have on-site armed security. 
  • Processors must be co-located with growers.
  • Window and counter displays of marijuana will not be allowed. 
  • On-site physician prescribing and dispensing will not be allowed.

“I think this plan strikes the right balance for the County,” said Councilman John Grasso (R-District 2). “This legislation will help keep illegal drugs out of the hands of people who are not supposed to have them. If the Federal government enforced its laws, this issue would not be before the County Council.”

“This is a fair agreement for all sides,” said Councilman Michael Peroutka (R-District 5). “I am pleased we were able to work together for the people of Anne Arundel County and thank the County Executive for his leadership.” 

The amendment to Bill 96-15 will be introduced on October 19th.

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