Frederick County Takes Up Zoning for Medical Cannabis

A Frederick News-Post article (2016-01-16) reported that among the bills currently being considered by the Frederick County Council is a proposal on how to zone for medical cannabis growing facilities. Numerous counties have tackled the issue of zoning for growing facilities, processing facilities, and dispensaries. From the article:

Councilwoman M.C. Keegan-Ayer introduced a bill Jan. 12 that would allow medical cannabis facilities to operate in the county’s agricultural zones, but only after applying for a special exception with the Board of Zoning Appeals and meeting certain restrictions.

The bill would require a grower to operate at least 1,000 feet away from any dwelling, and the same distance from the property line of any school or Board of Education property.

Any facility would have to be on at least 25 acres, and would require 24-hour surveillance by at least one armed security officer.

After a public hearing on the topic in October, Keegan-Ayer said an informal poll of council members showed that at least four were interested in allowing growers to operate in the agricultural zone.

The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission is the entity charged by the State with reviewing and issuing licenses for medical cannabis facilities. The Commission received has received over 1,000 applications for medical cannabis growing facilities, processing facilities, and dispensaries located across the State. The Commission can grant up to 15 grower licenses and plans to issue preliminary approvals for growers by the summer.

The article also discussed other bills being considered by the Council that would: (1) change the County’s historic designation process; (2) strengthen the County’s ethics law; (3) alter County impact fees; and (4) increase school mitigation fees.