Recreational Marijuana Becomes Legal On Saturday: What Harford County Residents Need To Know
HAVRE DE GRACE - Starting this Saturday, nearly 100 marijuana dispensaries across Maryland are set to begin sales to adults aged 21 and above. The occasion is expected to draw large crowds to the state's transitioned dispensaries, formerly medical marijuana vendors, who have chosen to switch their licenses to accommodate recreational marijuana sales.
How Will Legal Marijuana Work in Maryland and Harford County?
Starting on Saturday, adults in Maryland are allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or an aggregate amount of cannabis products not exceeding 750mg of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. This "personal use amount" is also the maximum quantity one can purchase at a dispensary. All cannabis products sold in Maryland will be subjected to a 9% sales tax.
Adults are also permitted to privately grow up to two secured cannabis plants per residence, on their property or with the owner's permission, and out of public view and reach of individuals under 21.
In addition, the smell of marijuana will no longer serve as sufficient cause for law enforcement to search a vehicle. However, other forms of probable cause for search will still be valid. The bill responsible for this alteration was passed by lawmakers who argued that since marijuana possession will no longer be illegal, its scent should not justify a vehicle search. Gov. Wes Moore allowed the bill to become law without signing it.
State law stipulates that residents are not allowed to sell cannabis. Selling cannabis in amounts below the personal use amount is classified as a misdemeanor under the new regulations and is punishable by up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Crossing state lines with marijuana or having it on federal property, including national parks and military bases, can also lead to charges due to marijuana's federal "schedule one" status. Furthermore, smoking cannabis in public is a civil offense and may be penalized by up to a $50 fine for a first offense. Subsequent offenses can incur penalties of up to $150.
It is important to note that selling or gifting cannabis in excess of the personal use amount or accepting payment for cannabis in excess of the personal use amount may qualify as possession with the intent to distribute. This much more serious crime carries penalties of three years imprisonment and/or a $5000 fine.
Despite legalization, employers are not required to permit its use. Various businesses have ceased marijuana testing, but employers can still enforce policies against marijuana use. Employees should consider these factors and the potential risks before partaking.
Ordinance No. 1099 passed by the City of Havre de Grace has several significant impacts on where cannabis operations can be located within the city.
Definition of Cannabis Entities: The legislation clearly defines various cannabis-related operations, including cannabis dispensaries, growers, processors, and independent testing laboratories. It also defines a "CBD shop" as a storefront selling CBD products and related supplies.
Conditional Use: The ordinance states that CBD shops and all cannabis uses are considered "conditional uses," provided that another CBD shop or cannabis entity is not located within 1,000 feet. This means such businesses can operate if they meet certain conditions, including a restriction on proximity to other similar businesses.
Prohibited Uses in Certain Zones: In the RB/ Residential Business zoning district, certain businesses are prohibited, including cannabis growing and processing facilities. Any such facilities already operating in these zones at the time the law was passed are considered non-conforming.
Harford County Dispensaries Set for Saturday Opening
In Harford County, four medical marijuana dispensaries will convert their licenses to permit recreational sales starting Saturday. The following dispensaries in Harford County have converted their licenses via the Maryland Cannabis Administration to sell marijuana to adults aged 21 or older, as long as they can present a government-issued photo ID.
- 702 Pulaski Highway, Joppa, MD 21085
- 3111 Emmorton Road, Abingdon, MD 21009
- 226 S. Philadelphia Ave., Aberdeen, MD 21206
- 3518 Conowingo Road, Dublin, MD 21154
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