It could be a long night at Monday’s County Council meeting with several bills, including a handful of land use matters and a ban on variances for medical marijuana outlets, up for hearings.
Bill 24-18 would prevent any potential medical marijuana facilities from getting any variances to the tough limitations set in the law authorizing them.
Administrative hearings have allowed variances on four dispensaries in the county. But County Executive Schuh, who has fought to exclude and limit the medical marijuana industry from the county, replaced former Administrative Hearing Officer Doug Hollmann and installed Annapolis attorney Jonathan Hodgson.
Hodgson rejected a dispensary variance application in his first case on the issue.
The General Assembly allowed for two dispensaries per senatorial district. Applicants are assigned a district and they have to find a site within those boundaries.
In Anne Arundel County, a location in the north half of the county makes it much harder to find a location, which was the spirit of the law passed by Schuh and the council.
“There is part of a larger conversation – how difficult is it to open a licensed dispensary in Anne Arundel County,” said Councilman Chris Trumbauer.
Schuh initially wanted to nix any outlets in the county but he and the council hashed out a deal.
“We ended up with a compromise I hoped would be a good middle ground, but the industry has not had much luck gaining a foothold in the county,” Trumbauer said.
He noted there is a desire to get a hold on the variances after one dispensary had seven, and council members have signed on to the bill.