Baltimore County Council Passes Medical Cannabis Zoning Bill

A September 8 Baltimore Sun article reported that the Baltimore County Council passed zoning requirements for medical cannabis growing and processing facilities and dispensaries.  While all counties are considering how to site and zone for medical cannabis facilities, Baltimore County is the first to specifically enact legislation.  Councilwoman Vicki Almond was the bill’s primary sponsor and Councilman Todd Crandell was a co-sponsor. From the article:

Medical marijuana growing and processing facilities will be allowed in industrial districts, although in the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone – a commercial and industrial district in the eastern part of the county – a grower must obtain approval of a special exception, which can be granted by an administrative judge after a public hearing.

The growing and processing facilities also would be allowed in certain rural zones. In the agricultural zone, the facilities would be allowed without extra approval. In the resource preservation and environmental enhancement zones, the facilities would be allowed with a special exception.

Medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed in business districts, provided they are 500 feet away from schools and 2,500 feet from one another. However, to locate in one of the county’s commercial revitalization districts, the business must get a special exception. The county’s 17 commercial revitalization districts are located in older commercial districts where the county is trying to spur improvements and new businesses.

The article also included comments in the article by both bill sponsors and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz:

“This council is to be commended for doing what is was elected to do, and in my opinion, doing it very well under difficult circumstances that have been thrust on us by forces outside of our control,” [Almond] said.

[Crandell], a Dundalk Republican, co-sponsored some of the changes that require the special exception approval. He noted that the county is wading into “unknown territory.” …

[Kamenetz] has said he doesn’t believe the zoning bill is necessary, but has praised the council “for taking its responsibility very seriously.”

Baltimore County Council Bill 61-15 Zoning Regulations – Medical Cannabis