Hawaii Cannabis logo

The clock has run out on a proposal to allow medical cannabis to be grown in agricultural areas in Frederick County.

A bill introduced by Council Vice President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) will die Wednesday under a provision of the county charter that requires bills to be enacted within 90 days of their formal introduction.

Keegan-Ayer, who has worked through several versions of the bill, tabled the most recent version Tuesday.

“As I tried to craft the bill, it finally became clear that we were never going to be on the same page,” she said.

For the last year, County Council members have heard harsh opposition to bills that would have extended medical cannabis growing operations to farmland in Frederick County.

In public comments at the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Middletown resident Marcia Bowers cautioned the council: When members of the Frederick County Farm Bureau turned out to vote, they would remember this vote.

While the bill was opposed by the Frederick County Farm Bureau and the Agriculture Business Council and Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board, individual farmers have expressed an interest in entering the industries.

In August, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission gave preliminary approval to two applicants who sought to grow medical cannabis in Frederick County, including one that hoped to open in the agricultural zone.

Keegan-Ayer said her bill sought to define medical cannabis as a crop in Frederick County’s agricultural zone. The bill would have allowed cultivation in greenhouses as a special exception at properties with a minimum lot area of 25 acres, among other requirements.

The most recent version of the bill – allowing a pilot program only for farmers who applied to the state commission by November 2015 – was as narrowly tailored as possible and still didn’t have enough support, Keegan-Ayer said.

Questions at the state commission – about racial and geographic diversity of applicants, the possibility of new legislation in 2017 and an ethics investigation into a Baltimore County lawmaker’s involvement in the medical cannabis industry – added to her decision to table the measure, she said.

Prospective medical cannabis growers who received initial approval from the state commission will continue to stage two of the approval process. That includes completing regulatory requirements, raising capital, acquiring real estate, securing local zoning approvals, constructing facilities, installing equipment, and hiring and training staff.


News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Sponsor Says Medical Cannabis Bill For Ag Areas Won’t Go Forward
Author: Danielle E. Gaines
Contact: 301-662-1177
Photo Credit: Bill Green
Website: The Frederick News-Post