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  • Writer's pictureNathan Stewart

CB-070-2023, Cannabis Dispensary Ordinance Unveiled in Prince George's County

Earlier this month, Prince George’s County Council Members Oriadha, Burroughs, Blegay, and Olson proposed CB-070-2023, “An Ordinance Concerning Cannabis Dispensaries.” The purpose of this ordinance is to amend the additional requirements related to Cannabis use within Prince George’s County, which would impact certain residential zones in Prince George’s County.

The affected zone includes:

  • R-A (Residential-Agricultural Use): Enables residential development on large lots, typically two acres in size, while promoting agriculture as the primary land use.

  • R-E (Residential Estate Use): Allows for the creation of large-lot estate subdivisions with lots approximately one acre or larger.

  • R-L (Residential Low Development): Facilitates low-density residential development in areas recommended by a Master Plan, allowing a mix of residential types and lot sizes associated with single-family development. Limited commercial uses are permitted to serve the predominantly residential area.

  • R-R (Rural Residential): Permits the creation of approximately half-acre residential lots, with specific sizes determined based on the date of recordation. It also allows for certain nonresidential special exception uses within the designated area.

  • R-55 (One-Family Detached Residential): Allows for the creation of small-lot residential subdivisions, promoting high-density, single-family detached homes. This zoning regulation affects various areas, including residential, agricultural, residential estate, and other zones designated for one-family detached residential use.

  • R-80 (One-Family Detached Residential): Provides flexibility in lot sizes and shapes for single-family developments, accommodating various house sizes and styles while effectively utilizing the natural terrain.

What It Would Do

This year the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Cannabis Reform Act. Before the implementation of this act, the sale of cannabis was limited to individuals using products only for medicinal purposes. The Cannabis Reform Act is groundbreaking because it permits the sale of recreational cannabis within the state while preventing cannabis use for the youth. The goal of CB-070-2023 is to abide by the Cannabis Reform Act and stimulate economic growth.

Additionally, this bill will limit the sale of cannabis to the Industry, Heavy (IH) zone only and increase the mandatory setback for many residential zones from 300 feet to 2,500. It would also increase the mandatory setback for many other developments, including Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPP) properties, numerous childcare centers, and schools.

CB-070-2023 proposes that cannabis dispensaries cannot be within one mile of each other and are only permitted to operate between the hours of 10:00 am and 8:00 pm. Previously established cannabis dispensaries that are not in compliance with CB-070-2023 currently have up to two years from the date of the bill’s enactment to comply with its regulations. Dispensaries that fail to follow the bill’s mandates are subject to civil fines every day that they do not comply.

Why It’s Important

According to the National Institute of Health, marijuana use has recorded its highest levels since 1988. The proportion of young adults who reported past-year marijuana use reached 43% in 2021. This is a 9% increase from 2016 and a 14% increase from 2011. Additionally, daily marijuana use has also increased. Approximately 11% of young adults have reported daily use compared to just 6% in 2011. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who use marijuana are more likely to develop temporary psychosis and long-lasting mental disorders such as schizophrenia.

Furthermore, frequent marijuana use can become habit-forming as nearly 3 in 10 people who use the drug have marijuana use disorder. Nationally, marijuana use is becoming increasingly common as many legislatures throughout the country are regulating its use. Additionally, this bill aims to not only regulate cannabis use but also prevent children and young adults from using the substance, dramatically increasing the distance between recreational facilities and cannabis dispensaries.

Sponsors and Next Steps

The enactment of CB-070-2023 would impact all Prince George’s County residents from all different backgrounds. Because this is a county ordinance, it supersedes many local regulations, thus impacting each citizen. This bill was presented by Council members Oriadha, Burroughs, Blegay, and Olson and was presented at Prince George’s County Council meeting on July 5th, 2023. CB-070-2023 is currently in the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee but does not have a hearing date as of today.



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