An Annapolis alderwoman whose district abuts the positioning of what may change into Anne Arundel County's first medical marijuana dispensary objected to the proposal Thursday on behalf of what she stated are greater than a thousand constituents.
However there will not be any authorized recourse for residents sad with the location of a 11,596-square-foot dispensary proposed on West Street below the county's rules for medical hashish operations, that are a number of the strictest within the state.
Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles, D-Ward three, offered opposition letters from the Higher Parole Group Affiliation and a coalition of Ward three pastors at a Thursday listening to on the dispensary software.
"The individuals who dwell in the neighborhood are those that shall be impacted by no matter is there," Pindell Charles stated. "We're saying this is not an acceptable location."
The neighborhood affiliation represents greater than 400 residents and the pastors minister to greater than 900 congregants, she added.
Representatives of Superior Different Therapies LLC, the applicant, insist the dispensary could have a lesser affect than the present tenants of 2029 West St., a tattoo parlor and Papa John's Pizza store.
"This isn't 'let's go to the bar at 7:30' — that is therapy of hashish for medical situations that you just can't purchase and not using a prescription," stated Jerome Feldman, an legal professional for Superior Different Therapies.
Medical hashish dispensaries are extremely regulated below state and county regulation.
Solely two dispensaries are allowed in every of Maryland's 47 senatorial districts and solely these with a prescription shall be allowed to browse and purchase. Dispensary staff and volunteers could have to cross a background examine.
Dispensaries are thought-about permitted makes use of inside industrial and industrial zones in Anne Arundel, however they need to meet sure situations below the particular exception course of.
The county's zoning regulation prohibits two dispensaries from being situated inside a mile of one another. The shops usually are not allowed to host a doctor to write prescriptions on-website and so they have to be accessible to a excessive-site visitors arterial street and submit "No Loitering" indicators on their premises.
The proposed dispensary constructing is situated in Anne Arundel County, proper on the county/metropolis line. The Metropolis of Annapolis doesn't have any of its personal specific restrictions on dispensaries, in accordance to a spokeswoman.
Rick Ruhf, an architect whose agency designed the proposed dispensary, stated the store's entrance space would come with a receptionist's desk and a few shows of smoking equipment. The marijuana could be bought in a secured again room solely accessible by clients with particular identification playing cards, and storage could be in one other room monitored by cameras, movement sensors and lights.
Although the dispensary would occupy the prevailing West Street constructing, plans present it will likely be extensively renovated with floor-to-ceiling home windows and fashionable wooden finishings. Ruhf stated the design is an effort to "destigmatize the constructing."
Native medical marijuana advocates shared tales of how the plant has improved lives through the two-and-half-hour listening to with Douglas Clark Hollmann, the Anne Arundel administrative listening to officer.
Amy Mellen, who moved to Waldorf from Oregon six months in the past, stated she misplaced a decade of her life to dependancy after a critical automotive accident left her hooked on painkillers.
She resolved to look into medical hashish, which is authorized in Oregon, after tablets made her black out whereas driving.
Three months after she began utilizing hashish oil, Mellen give up painkillers.
"This plant has given me my life again," she stated.
Gail Rand, an advocate for medical hashish whose son suffers from seizures, and former Anne Arundel Sheriff George Johnson additionally testified in help of the applying. The 2 are on the group of Ahead Gro LLC, a medical hashish rising firm that has plans to open in Lothian.
Pindell Charles stated she didn't dispute that there may be a public want for medical hashish. However she stated she and her constituents disagree that West Street is the suitable location.
The proposed dispensary is about 600 toes away from The Capital's former constructing, the place a Monarch constitution faculty is opening in September. It is also close to a methadone clinic and the Gentle Home homeless shelter.
Pindell Charles stated these latter two organizations do good work, however "I believe for our neighborhood we have endured sufficient."
She additionally fearful about site visitors points as clients depart the procuring middle, the place she stated there's already a "harmful site visitors state of affairs."
Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides, who didn't attend the listening to, echoed Pindell Charles' considerations.
Whereas "I believe individuals ought to have the opportunity to get the medication they want within the areas they dwell ... I do not like the placement of it," stated Pantelides, a Republican. Each he and Pindell Charles stated they would favor to see the dispensary situated nearer to Anne Arundel Medical Middle.
Laurence Knighton, who owns the encircling West Street procuring middle, additionally testified towards the applying.
He stated he has been attempting to purchase the Papa John's constructing for the previous 25 years, however hasn't had any luck. He is involved that including a dispensary to the realm may contribute to the procuring middle's points with loitering and drug dealing.
"The factor that I'm afraid of is that some individuals will get prescriptions and use it and promote it there," he stated.
Feldman pushed again on these considerations, noting that state regulation limits the quantity of medical hashish a person could be prescribed each 30 days.
"It will not be sufficient to purchase to resell," he stated.
As for worries about site visitors, engineer Wayne Newton stated knowledge for a comparable dispensary in Las Vegas present that site visitors circulation could be lowered in contrast to the quantity the prevailing pizza parlor generates.
Whereas county regulation restricts dispensaries north of Route 50 and east of the South River from being situated inside ,000 toes of a faculty or dwelling, the West Street website is exterior of these boundaries.
Feldman stated the space restrictions could be exhausting to meet within the dense Annapolis space. Metropolis code doesn't have such limitations on companies inside its borders.
"Within the metropolis of Annapolis, I can have a liquor retailer wedged in between a faculty, church and playground," he stated. "You need to impose a requirement that you do not impose upon others."
He added, "I may put a pharmacy there and dispense medicine which can be far more critical and harmful."
Ray Sears, who owns the Papa John's restaurant, was neither for nor towards the applying. However he stated he hadn't been knowledgeable that his enterprise would wish to depart to make room for the dispensary.
"All indications I used to be given have been that they have been going to be within the tattoo store space," he stated. "I believe I have been hoodwinked a bit."
Hollmann stated he'll problem a call on the dispensary software inside 30 days.
Reporter Chase Cook dinner contributed to this story.