Carroll Report Commissioners Maryland Uncategorized

Carroll County Elected Officials Stand Strong Against State-Backed Cannabis Onslaught

In a defiant stand against the impending wave of legalized recreational cannabis, Carroll County commissioners are gearing up for a legislative battle to outlaw its sale in the heart of Maryland. Commissioner President Ken Kiler, speaking for his colleagues, boldly declared “we have that right to try” to banish cannabis in Carroll County.

Determined to resist the state’s encroachment on local autonomy, Kiler hinted at either enforcing the most stringent version of Maryland’s rules on cannabis sellers or imposing an outright ban on cannabis sales in unincorporated areas of Carroll County. 

Commissioner Michael Guerin hinted at their strategy, suggesting, “We are either going to amend what the state did or didn’t do, or we’re going to prohibit it within our county ordinance.”

Despite the green wave sweeping the state, Carroll commissioners, staunchly opposed to recreational cannabis, find themselves grappling with current county codes that lack any semblance of regulation for dispensary locations. This regulatory void, commissioners argue, poses a risk of dispensaries popping up anywhere.

The proposed code changes, however, aim to fortify Carroll County’s defenses against the cannabis invasion. These changes include stricter regulations on recreational shops, mandating a 500-feet distance from residences, schools, day care facilities, playgrounds, libraries, and recreation centers. The proposal also bars cannabis shops from setting up within 1,000 feet of each other and adds a prohibition on Christmas tree stands and pumpkin patches selling cannabis products.

During a charged public hearing, community members rallied against easier access to recreational cannabis, while a defiant few stood in support of a more liberal approach. The clash of opinions heightened tensions, with veterans advocating for cannabis use and critics warning against potential federal repercussions.

One member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, Katherine Adelaide, urged officials to uphold federal law over state mandates.  “I don’t want to see the feds come in here at any time and file a federal indictment against this board for violating federal law.”

As the battle lines are drawn, it becomes apparent that not all residents of Carroll County are prepared to welcome the shifting currents of public sentiment or are experiencing buyer’s remorse concerning the policy.  60% of county residents voted in favor of the legalization of recreational cannabis. The emerging discord underscores a division within the community, with a substantial portion grappling with reservations or evolving perspectives in the face of a policy they once endorsed at the ballot box.

The public hearing concluded with a unanimous decision to initiate a 10-day comment period, allowing dissenting voices to be heard.

While Maryland legislators greenlit recreational cannabis on July 1, 2023, Carroll County remains a stronghold of resistance. Proponents emphasize potential tax revenue, but dissenters argue that the lion’s share would disproportionately benefit the Maryland Cannabis Administration, leaving Carroll County in the shadows.

A new entity, the “Office of Social Equity,” adds another layer to the rebellion narrative, managing 35% of the revenue to address the fallout of the war on drugs. As the battle rages on, Carroll County’s rebellion against the cannabis juggernaut sets the stage for an epic clash between local autonomy and state-backed legalization.

As the developing recreational marijuana industry takes root in Maryland, the regulatory landscape remains in flux at both the state and local levels. Counties find themselves in an uncertain position, grappling with the challenge of determining the appropriate measures to rein in an industry that, surprisingly, faces fewer restrictions than its counterparts in alcohol or cigarettes. The evolving regulatory framework adds a layer of complexity to the landscape, requiring careful consideration and strategic decision-making by local authorities.

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