Maryland Senate passes bill restricting local control over cannabis dispensary locations – Baltimore Sun

A bill to limit how far local governments can go in restricting the locations of new cannabis dispensaries cleared a key hurdle in the Maryland General Assembly on Thursday, moving it closer to becoming law just as the state hands out the first round of new cannabis licenses.

The legislation aims to prevent counties from enacting overly burdensome zoning rules that go beyond last year’s law that set up the recreational industry in Maryland.

Only formerly medical cannabis license holders have been permitted to grow, process or sell recreational cannabis so far. The first 174 new licenses were awarded last week and will be required to open in the next 18 months.

But some local officials in Carroll, Prince George’s and other counties have tried to limit the locations of the new shops — raising concerns from some that the legal industry will be unable to flourish in those areas.

A plan to restrict those efforts passed the Democratic-controlled Senate along party lines Thursday. It faced initial pushback primarily from Prince George’s County Democrats who said they don’t want new cannabis storefronts adding to concentrations of liquor stores and smoke shops in their neighborhoods.

“We are just laser focused on making sure that

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