Local Concerns in Maryland Travel a Well-Worn Path

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Industry officials in Maryland are navigating local community concerns about cannabis businesses, following a storyline which has played out in many other states rolling out MMJ programs.

A standing-room crowd gathered at the Maryland Association of Counties conference on Thursday to hear county leaders discuss regulations governing the state’s MMJ program. At particular issue is how much control county officials will actually have with regard to zoning rules, according to WBAL TV.

An executive at the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission tried to reassure locals, saying areas where dispensaries are located will be “boring offices in business areas,” the Washington Post reported.

Baltimore County Councilor Vicki Almond earlier this month introduced a proposal to prohibit dispensaries from opening near residential areas, schools and daycares, a common rule passed in several other states where either medical or recreational marijuana have been legalized.

County executive Kevin Kamenetz said he doesn’t think new laws need to be introduced because officials can use existing rules governing drugstores and hospitals.

While some officials are concerned about dispensaries coming to their counties, others are welcoming the industry. In rural Washington County, commissioners unanimously passed a vote supporting a plan by Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries to build a cultivation facility that would create as many as 200 jobs in the next four years, should the company secure a state license to grow MMJ. The facility would give the local economy a $4 million to $7 million boost, company officials have said.