Residents, Community Groups Remain Vocal on Medical Cannabis Dispensary Locations

A Baltimore Sun article (2017-07-27) reported that residents and community groups continue to express concerns about the location of medical cannabis dispensaries and highlighted some of the zoning issues local governments must confront when deciding where to site the facilities. The article indicated that county residents and elected officials continue to grapple with the proper location for medical cannabis dispensaries, with ongoing debates taking place in Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Queen Anne’s Counties. The article noted that most residents are okay with dispensaries but question whether they should be located within residential areas instead of commercial areas.

Advocates argued a lack of education on the issue is one of primary reasons dispensary locations are being challenged. But some community representatives challenged this assertion:

Darrell Carrington, a cannabis lobbyist with Greenwill Consulting Group, blamed the opposition on fears of the unknown.

“Because it’s new, people are suspect,” Carrington said. He said dispensaries will be tightly regulated by the state, with “more security measures built into this program than you would ever imagine.” …

Peggy Winchester is president of the [Baltimore County] South Perry Hall Boulevard Improvement Association. [In the Association’s] neighborhood, she said, “the majority of the the people that I have spoken to have no problem with medical marijuana. They just don’t think it should be dispensed in the middle of a residential neighborhood.”

An additional concern raised in the article is the lack of notice regarding the address of a proposed dispensary prior to its approval by the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The article reiterated that dispensaries are limited to no more than two in each of the State’s 47 Senatorial districts.