Jul 12, 2023 - News

Prince George's County to consider new limits for weed dispensaries

Rise Dispensary opens in Silver Spring on July 1. Photo: Robb Hill/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maryland dispensaries brought in nearly $21 million in sales in their first week in operation, according to the state Cannabis Administration.

Why it matters: That whopping number, which includes more than $10 million in sales in the first weekend of July alone, is testament to the interest in the state's new recreational market.

Yes, but: In one Maryland county, some elected officials want to impose restrictions on new dispensaries.

Driving the news: A bill proposed in Prince George's County would limit where new dispensaries can operate — relegating them to industrial zones and more than 2,500 feet away from land used for daycares and schools, the Washington Post first reported.

  • It would not affect existing dispensaries.
  • It also mirrors another local bill, the Post writes, that would impact smoke shops.

What they're saying: The vice chair of a Maryland trade organization that advocates for equity in the cannabis industry told the Post that the bill would go against requirements in Maryland's law preventing jurisdictions from "unduly burdening" cannabis businesses with zoning requirements.

  • The bill's sponsors did not return Axios' request for comment.

Catch up fast: Maryland began allowing recreational sales on July 1, with more than 100 medical dispensaries converting to both recreational and medical sales.

  • Some of the money from the 9% tax on recreational sales will go toward a grant program to support retailers from marginalized communities, as well as a social equity office — all part of the state’s efforts to right past injustices.

Between the lines: In 2020, Black residents comprised 59% of arrests for marijuana possession, according to state crime data.

  • That same year, only 10% of investors in the state's medical marijuana industry were people of color, the Capital News Service reported, showing how marginalized communities are disproportionately prosecuted for cannabis-related crimes while being left out of the industry.

What's ahead: The Prince George's County dispensary bill will next go to committee.

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