Anne Arundel County Council Approves Medical Marijuana Zoning Tweak

Anne Arundel County Council members on Monday night passed legislation tweaking the county’s medical marijuana zoning rules, a change officials said will align the law with the council’s original intentions.

Council Bill 21-17 specifies that medical marijuana dispensaries located north of Route 50 or north of the northeast shore of the South River are not allowed within 1,000 feet of a house or school building. Those restrictions do not apply elsewhere in the county.

According to The Capital Gazette,

The change, which passed unanimously, represents a tightening of the previous law, which banned dispensaries within 1,000 feet of homes and schools only if the business was located both north of Route 50 and east of the South River.

Land affected by the updated restriction includes Annapolis, the Broadneck Peninsula, Crofton, Odenton and all of north county, including Glen Burnie and Pasadena.

The change will not apply to an application for a dispensary on West Street, which could become the county’s first. While the site falls within the new boundary lines, it will not be affected because the application is already in progress.

Administration officials and councilmen alike said the bill’s changes describe the law they thought they had passed when the rules for medical marijuana were first crafted in late 2015.

“We believe (this) is the intent when we discussed this bill originally,” said Bernie Marczyk, a lobbyist for County Executive Steve Schuh.

Councilman Chris Trumbauer, an Annapolis Democrat, voted in favor of the bill because, he said, it “just corrects the code to be what we thought we passed back then, so there are no additional regulations put on the industry.”

“I continue to believe that our code is too restrictive for this new industry, but I’m going to vote yes because I’m honoring the compromise we passed last year,” he said.

Councilman Jerry Walker, a Crofton Republican, said fewer regulations may be warranted if the existing rules prove too difficult for fledgling medical marijuana businesses.

“I think the majority of us would like to see them open, and if we create this system that’s too restrictive, too cumbersome, we may need to look at how we set it up,” he said.

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