First Maryland County Adopts MMJ Rules

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Maryland cannabis entrepreneurs scored a victory this week after the Baltimore County Council adopted zoning regulations that are much more favorable for medical marijuana businesses than the initial draft of proposed rules.

The council voted to pass zoning laws that specify where dispensaries, marijuana growing operations and processing facilities are allowed to operate, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore County is now the first Maryland jurisdiction to mete out zoning requirements before the state issues cannabis business licenses.

The new requirements could become a blueprint for other Maryland counties establishing ordinances for medical marijuana entrepreneurs as the state prepares to begin accepting applications for growers, up to 94 dispensaries and an undetermined number of processors that plan to produce edibles and extracts.

Under the new rules, cultivation sites and processing businesses can set up shop in industrial districts, certain rural areas and the city’s agricultural zone. These businesses also will be allowed in resource preservation and environmental enhancement zones with special exceptions.

Medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed in business districts, so long as they are at least 2,500 feet away from other MMJ storefronts and 500 feet away from schools. Some may be able to locate in commercial revitalization districts but must get a special exception to do so, according to the Sun.

The council was initially considering a proposal that would have severely restricted where medical marijuana can be grown and where business can be conducted.