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Winter Conference (Dec. 9-11, 2015): General Conference Info
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Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Apply Throughout Maryland, Large Number Likely to Delay Approval

A November 25, 2015, Baltimore Sun article reported the state’s Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has released a breakdown showing a wide geographic dispersal of the 811 proposed medcial cannabis dispensary applications the Commission received by the November 6 deadline. The 811 number represents a significant increase from the Commission’s preliminary number of 269 dispensary applications.

Despite the large number of applications, State law provides no more than two dispensaries are allowed in each of the State’s 47 senate districts. The article also provided revised numbers for grower applications (146) and processor applications (124). From the article:

At least 89 applied to be in [Baltimore City], with another 15 in a district that straddles the [city-Baltimore County] line. In addition to those, there were 55 more in just two adjacent central Baltimore County districts.

The most licenses sought in a single district were in Takoma Park, where there were 10 applicants for every available license. Other areas with intense interest include 29 in Rockville and 25 in Frederick. The area with the fewest applications – 7 – was Talbot County on the Eastern Shore.

Hannah Byron, the commission’s executive director, said a “significant” number of groups applied in every single legislative district.

A November 24 Washington Post article highlighted the intense competition for dispensary licenses in the Takoma Park region.

A legislative district that includes Takoma Park faces the toughest competition within Maryland to open a medical marijuana dispensary, with 30 prospective operators vying for two spots, according to newly released data. …

Regulators received 29 applications to approve licenses in three jurisdictions: Baltimore County’s 42nd District and Baltimore City’s 46th District, as well as the 17th District, which covers Gaithersburg and Rockville. The average number of applications per district is 17.

A November 24 Frederick News-Post article reported on dispensary applications in Frederick County and the likely delay in approval due to the large number of applicants:

Maryland has received 37 applications to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Frederick County’s state Senate districts. …

The commission received 25 dispensary applications for District 3, which is entirely in Frederick County, and 12 applications for District 4, which includes portions of Frederick and Carroll counties. …

The state had planned to issue licenses this winter, allowing businesses to open by the end of 2016. A new schedule for approval will be released in the future, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Executive Director Hannah Byron said in a news release.

The article also lists the businesses that submitted a dispensary application for Districts 3 and 4.

A November 24 Herald Mail Media article highlighted applications for Districts 1 and 2 in Western Maryland:

More than 20 companies have applied for medical-marijuana dispensary licenses to locate in the two senatorial districts that cover Washington County, according to a breakdown of applications announced Tuesday by state officials. …

A total of 25 applications were made from 22 different entities for dispensaries in Washington County, which is partly in Senate District 1, as well as District 2. Three companies submitted applications in both districts.

District 1 covers Garrett, Allegany and Washington County west of the Conococheague Creek, while District 2 covers the remaining portion of the county eastward, including Hagerstown.

The article also noted that the Commission will be working with Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) to help develop a new timeline for application review.

“… It is premature to offer a revised schedule at this time,” Byron said. “We will work with RESI to revise the timeline accordingly and will make an announcement regarding the amended schedule in the near future.”

The article also discussed grower and processor applications in Washington County and listed the companies that submitted dispensary applications for Districts 1 and 2.

Finally, a November 25 Cumberland Times-News article also covered the Western Maryland applications, the various approaches taken by some applicants, and the likely delay in Commission review and approvals given the large number of applications:

The large volume of applicants is likely to cause the commission to reconsider the ambitious timeline in place for the rollout of the industry.

“We are pleased to share the official number of applications received by the submission deadline. With the tabulations now finalized, we look forward to developing a revised rollout schedule based on the volume of applications received,” said Hannah Byron, executive director of the cannabis commission, in the press release. …

Some applicants seeking a dispensary license applied in multiple, or even all of the 47 senatorial districts. This drove the totals for applicants filing for a dispensary license up. However, the method does not appear to help the applicants gain a license.

“Despite this approach by applicants, regulations prohibit any candidate from receiving more than one dispensary license,” the commission said.

Applicants for growing and processing licenses did not have to indicate where they will operate. However, two firms have announced their desire to locate in Allegany County.

A full list of applicants can be found on the Commission’s website.

The 2015 MACo Winter Conference will feature two sessions on medical cannabis: (1) a session on county zoning for grower and processor facilities and dispensaries on Thursday, 10; and (2) a general session on medicinal efficicacy and security and financial oversight issues on Friday, December 11.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.


Police Body-Worn Camera Implementations – A Technical Overview with L-3 National Security Solutions

L-3 National Security Solutions is offering a Sponsor Showcase Session at Winter Conference on Friday, December 11, 9:00 am – 9:30 am:

L-3 National Security Solutions: Police Body-Worn Camera Implementations – A Technical Overview

Description: There has been extensive discussion in the news regarding the benefits of body-worn camera programs, but less attention has been paid to the equipment, storage requirements and processes needed to implement a robust program. This presentation will give a quick overview of the elements required to stand up, manage and support a body-worn camera program, its role in digital evidence management and some surprising aspects to consider before making an acquisition decision.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Sustainable Growth Commission Prepares to Resume Work With New Members

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission held a transitional meeting on November 23, 2015, and welcomed a number of new members appointed by the Administration of Governor Larry Hogan.  The Commission has largely been in a “standby” mode for the last 6 months as the terms of many of the Commission’s discretionary membership expired and had to be reappointed or replaced by the Administration. The most up-to-date listing of the Commission’s membership can be found here.

Most of the Commission’s workgroups have likewise been in a research or wait mode during the membership changes. The primary exception has been has been the Rural Economies Workgroup. That Workgroup, with support from MACo, has been looking at how Priority Funding Areas (PFAs) apply in rural regions of the state.  Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) staff is working on a communication tool to help local jurisdictions understand the complicated criteria and requirements of the PFA law. The Workgroup’s next step will be to survey local governments and organizations to get their thoughts on how the current PFA law is working. The Workgroup has also reached out to key stakeholders to work on sustainable forestry issues.

At its meeting, the Commission also went on a walking tour of downtown Salisbury hosted by Mayor Jacob Day and heard welcoming remarks from Day and Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver.  Representatives from the Harry R. Hughes Center on Agro-Ecology gave an overview of the Center and its work.

The Commission plans to fully resume its work at its next meeting, which will take place on January 25, 2016, in Crownsville.



2 Important Stops to Make at MACo’s Winter Conference

MACo’s 40-booth tradeshow offers products and services ranging from insurance to architecture.

1. Exhibits
Our exhibit space is SOLD OUT with 40 exhibitors in the main conference center foyer, in Choptank A, and on the second floor landing leading to the hotel. View our list of exhibitors and plan to stop by and learn more about their cost-saving products and services.

2. Power Zone Lounge
We’re offering a special space – Skipjack AB – for our conference participants to relax, hold small meetings, charge their mobile devices, or listen to our Sponsor Showcase Sessions. Several of our sponsors will offer short 30-minute overviews of specific services and programs that our conference attendees might find useful. Be sure to check out the Showcase schedule and plan to attend a session.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.


Local Government Contracting Opportunities Begin to Grow

As reported by the online publication Route Fifty, local government contracting opportunities are rebounding. The article references a new report by Onvia, a Seattle-based government business intelligence company, that found that state, local and education (SLED) contracting activity increased by .3 percent after a noticeable decline.

From the article,

…third quarter growth was spurred by local governments, up 1.3 percent, and education agencies, up 3.1 percent,

Also factoring into the uptick was a 4.5 percent spike in IT/telecom purchases, up 388 bids and RFPs to 8,990 since this time last year, driven by state agencies. Consulting and software made up the majority of those purchases.

The article indicates that state agencies continued to see a 3.3 percent decline in purchasing activity.

Howard County Executive Proposes Phasing Out County Stormwater Fee

A November 24, 2015, Baltimore Sun article reported that Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman will introduce legislation that would phase out the county’s stormwater remediation fee (also called the “rain tax” by critics) over a two-year period. The article noted that he would partner with County Councilman Greg Fox on the bill.   The article also noted Kittleman’s prior opposition to the 2013 State legislation which required 10 counties to adopt a stormwater fee while he was a State Senator. From the article:

I felt then, as I still do now, that creating another tax or fee was unnecessary, excessive and a burden on working families and small businesses, and it was obvious that many residents of Maryland felt the same way,” Kittleman said of his opposition to the fee while in the state Senate. He said he decided to wait a year before making a decision on the fee as county executive based on advice from the county’s Spending Affordability Committee.

Kittleman’s bill, co-sponsored by Fox, a Fulton Republican, would cut the stormwater fee in half next year and eliminate it entirely in 2017.

The article cited that the fee generates about $10 million annually for the county and that repealing the fee does not eliminate the County’s stormwater mitigation requirements under its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit.

“I don’t want anyone to take this legislation as any less of a commitment by Howard County to making sure that we meet our requirements to do what we can to preserve and protect our Chesapeake Bay,” [Kittleman] said. “What’s in dispute is how we fund it.”

Stormwater improvement projects would be paid for out of the county’s general fund under Kittleman’s plan. Money from the dedicated stormwater fund could be leveraged to pay for general obligation bonds that fund stormwater remediation capital projects, he said.

The article also noted Councilman Calvin Ball’s preliminary response to the proposed legislation:

“I remain committed to working with everyone who is dedicated to investing in our environmental sustainability,” Ball said. “While it is unfortunate that the county executive has not shared any of these details with me, I look forward to hearing more about how we’re going to fund the fee and ensure that we address stormwater runoff [and] how we’re going to continue to work towards saving the Chesapeake Bay.”


Separating Myth From Fact on Medical Cannabis

Get your ongoing questions answered about medical cannabis at the 2015 MACo December Winter Conference.  Learn about the medical efficacy of medical cannabis and the security and financial oversight issues that growers, processors, and dispensaries must manage.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, Maryland has received 355 applications for growing facilities, processing facilities, and dispensaries spread across the state.


As Maryland moves forward with legalized medical cannabis, there remain questions, concerns, and potential misconceptions about how certain aspects of the policy will be implemented. Some question whether cannabis has valid medical uses that outweigh its potential drawbacks. Others raise concerns over issues like security (both on-site and during product transport) and financial oversight (federal banking law still views proceeds from medical cannabis as illegal). Panelists will summarize where Maryland is in its implementation process and address the commonly raised issues of medical efficacy, security, and accounting and financial management.


  • The Honorable Dan Morhaim, M.D., Maryland House of Delegates
  • Taylor Jackson, Chairman and CEO, WitnessOne LLC
  • Ethan Ruby, CEO, Maryland Peak Harvest Health

Moderator: The Honorable Jan Gardner, County Executive, Frederick County

Date & Time: Friday, December 11, 2015, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Don’t Let Your Project Go Down the Drain – Reforming Stormwater Restoration Permitting

Learn how MACo, counties, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments are collaborating with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to address the State’s stormwater restoration project permitting challenges at the 2015 MACo December Winter Conference. As previously reported on Conduit Street, MDE has agreed to helpful permit reforms that will allow counties and other parties to implement restoration projects more efficiently and quickly.


Stormwater restoration projects are often inherently difficult from both an engineering and cost perspective. Add to that a relatively small contractor pool; frustrating permit process; and for some counties, challenging federal permit goals. To address these issues, MACo and county stakeholders have been working with the MDE to make sensible reforms to its permitting process. Panelists will discuss the general challenges posed by stormwater restoration projects, identify specific problems with MDE’s current permitting system, and highlight positive reforms that MDE is undertaking based on county feedback.


  • Lynn Buhl, Director, Water Management Administration, Maryland Department of the Environment
  • Erik Michelsen, Administrator, Watershed Protection & Restoration Program, Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works
  • Karl Berger, Principal Environmental Planner, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Moderator: The Honorable Marvin Holmes, Jr., Maryland House of Delegates

Date & Time: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Montgomery County to Move Forward With Modified Bus Rapid Transit Plan

Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett announced yesterday his plan to move forward with bus rapid transit without the creation of an independent authority to develop and oversee its operation. Leggett announced earlier this month that he decided not to introduce legislation to create a County Transit Authority that would raise funds, build and operate a countywide bus rapid transit system. The county will instead focus on a community education and outreach effort on the benefits of bus rapid transit.

As reported in the Washington Post,

Leggett said he has asked Montgomery’s Department of Transportation to develop less costly alternatives to existing plans for bus-only express lanes, focusing one or two routes in a projected 98-mile system.

“I am committed to serving the rapid transit needs of our county,” Leggett said. The county would finance the routes in its own capital budget, which Leggett will introduce early next year.

Leggett said he hopes that if opponents see the bus lanes in limited operation, they might be more inclined to support a transit authority.

The routes and costs were not specified in the announcement. However, the article mentions three routes that have county interest.

…along Route 355 from the Rockville Metro station to the Bethesda Metro station, with a current estimated cost of $422 million; along U.S. 29 from Burtonsville to downtown Silver Spring ($200 million); and along the Viers Mill Road corridor ($285 million).

FEMA Offers Free Courses in Emergency Management

The Emergency Management Institute at FEMA has built a wealth of free resources for local officials to learn more about emergency management.


FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute offers a range of free web-based courses for those interested in learning more about emergency management.

For example, a course on emergency operations centers, IS-775: EOC Management and Operations, describes the role, design, and functions of Emergency Operations Centers and their relationships as components of a multi-agency coordination system. The course contains disaster-related examples, activities and case studies that relate to EOC’s and multi-agency coordination systems at the local, state and federal levels of government.

Course objectives include:

  • Describe the role that EOCs play in overall multiagency coordination.
  • Describe the relationship between the EOC and the on-scene Incident Command System (ICS) structure.
  • Identify staffing, information, systems, and equipment needs at the EOC.
  • Determine whether participants’ EOC organizations are conducive to effective coordination.
  • Identify potential alternate locations suitable for EOC operations should the primary EOC facility become damaged or inoperable.
  • Create a test, training and exercise plan for critical EOC operations.
  • Develop a strategy and schedule for reviewing EOC resource requirements and technology needs.

For more information, view the course offerings and take a course, or join us for a special MACo Winter Conference session on public safety and emergency management issues, The ABCs of EOCs: County Roles During a Local Emergency.

In The ABCs of EOCs, Richard Brooks, Director of Cecil County Emergency Services will describe the roles of county elected officials and leadership staff in local emergency operations centers, and Russ Strickland, the Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency will describe their counterparts in the State’s EOC. Through presentation and a short tabletop exercise, participants will gain insight into the chain of command during an emergency, how agency functions translate into emergency support functions during a crisis, and how to work in an incident command structure.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to test your EOC skills! This session will meet on Friday, December 10, 2015, from 8-9:15am.

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 9-11, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.