No mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary due for Drum­mer Drive

Judge rules in county’s fa­vor

The Kent Island Bay Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ANGELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — In the case of Hip­po­cratic Growth LLC ver­sus the Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers, Cir­cuit County Judge Thomas P. Smith ruled June 21 in fa­vor of the county.

Hip­po­cratic Growth and two other com­pa­nies had sued the com­mis­sion­ers to al­low a med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary at 101 Drum­mer Drive, Gra­sonville. A fed­eral claim was

dis­missed after an April 13 hear­ing in Bal­ti­more and the case re­manded to Queen Anne’s County Cir­cuit Court.

Smith ruled Or­di­nance 17-06, which re­stricts where med­i­cal cannabis fa­cil­i­ties can be lo­cated, is valid; the county has no duty to ver­ify that a med­i­cal cannabis dis­pen­sary is a per­mit­ted use in Ur­ban Com­mer­cial Zon­ing District; the com­mis­sion­ers are not re­quired to pro­vide a let­ter stat­ing it is a per­mit­ted use; and the county has no duty to is­sue the plain­tiffs a build­ing per­mit.

“The com­mis­sion­ers ap­pre­ci­ate the court’s rul­ing as it re-en­forces the county’s right to limit the lo­ca­tion of spe­cific busi­ness uses if they are deemed to be pos­si­bly detri­men­tal to the health and wel­fare of a com­mu­nity,” said County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gregg Todd. “While med­i­cal cannabis is al­lowed by law, it is still the right and re­spon­si­bil­ity of lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tions to make sure these fa­cil­i­ties are prop­erly lo­cated. The com­mis­sion­ers feel that County Or­di­nance 17-06 was the proper use of the county’s leg­isla­tive author­ity and are happy that the court agrees.”

This past De­cem­ber, the state mar­i­juana com­mis­sion no­ti­fied Hip­po­cratic Growth that it was awarded pre­lim­i­nary li­cens­ing ap­proval to op­er­ate a med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary in Mary­land Se­nate District 36, which in­cludes Queen Anne’s County, and the com­mis­sion’s one-year dead­line to com­plete stage two li­cens­ing com­menced, end­ing next De­cem­ber.

Hip­po­cratic Growth had been in dis­cus­sions with the county as to which zon­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tions a med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary could be lo­cated and a site on Drum­mer Drive in Gra­sonville was dis­cussed. The com­mis­sion­ers raised con­cerns about the pro­posed lo­ca­tion and passed Or­di­nance 17-06 as emer­gency leg­is­la­tion. This leg­is­la­tion elim­i­nated the Drum­mer Drive lo­ca­tion for med­i­cal cannabis and was the im­pe­tus law­suit.

The plain­tiffs in­cluded Hip­po­cratic Growth, 111 Scherr Lane LLC, which owns the prop­erty, and 101 Drum­mer Drive LLC, which planned to buy and then lease the prop­erty to Hip­po­cratic Growth.

Smith stated, “COMAR, Chap­ter 27, Sec­tion 2 of the reg­u­la­tions en­ti­tled ‘Li­censed Dis­pen­sary Premises, Premises Gen­er­ally,’ pro­vides in­ter alia ‘The premised and op­er­a­tions of a li­censee shall con­form to all lo­cal zon­ing and plan­ning re­quire­ments.’ There is no ex­press or im­plied pre­emp­tion, and Or­di­nance 17-06 is valid and ap­plies to the sub­ject prop­erty.”

PHOTO BY CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

A judge has ruled Queen Anne’s County Or­di­nance 17-06 is valid, which means med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary is not a per­mit­ted use for 101 Drum­mer Drive in Gra­sonville.

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