Baltimore County Council Adjusts Regulations In Preparation For Maryland's Recreational Marijuana Legalization


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BALTIMORE COUNTY - As of July 1, the consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes will be legalized in Maryland. At Tuesday’s meeting of the Baltimore County Council, officials worked to establish the necessary frameworks to accommodate this change.

Council President Julian Jones said that the goal is to bring local policy in line with state regulations.

"Our goal is to align with the state regulations, allowing eligible local facilities to seize the opportunity to sell recreational cannabis," Jones said.

This will entail the modification of the county's current Medical Cannabis Act to accommodate the sales of recreational marijuana. The amendments will affect the existing clauses in the county code and zoning regulations.

"Our existing regulations address medical cannabis. Our current task is to essentially expunge the 'medical' terminology from the existing code and zoning regulations and simply label it as 'cannabis'," shared Pete Guwald, the Director of Permits, Approvals and Inspections.

Bill 36-23 would maintain the current permissible zones for cannabis dispensaries, with a strict rule prohibiting the establishments from opening within 500 feet of schools or daycares. However, to align with the updated state regulations, the required spacing between dispensaries will be reduced from 2,500 feet to 1,000 feet.

Council members acknowledged that there are several unresolved issues.

"Transitioning from medical to recreational marijuana comes with a unique set of challenges, especially considering the speed at which the state regulations are evolving. We are striving to match the pace, but there are still areas that require attention at the local level," observed board member Todd Crandell.

A final discussion and voting on the bill are scheduled for June 5.

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