Cannabis Bill For Frederick County Is Dead

It was tabled on Tuesday.

Frederick, Md (KM)  There will be no medical cannabis bill enacted in Frederick County for the time being. During a meeting on Tuesday, County Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer, who sponsored the legislation, tabled it. She said this effectively kills the measure because, under the Charter, legislation not approved by the Council within 90-day after its introduction is void.

The bill, which would have allowed the growing of marijuana for medical uses in agriculturally zoned land with a special exception, was strongly opposed by the farming community. “It’s not an agricultural crop. It cannot be publicly bought and traded. It is a controlled substance under federal law,” said Jenny Long from Middletown, who spoke prior to the tabling of the bill.

Keegan-Ayer acknowledge the opposition of the farming community to this measure, and she said she tried to accommodate them. “However, as I listened, the overriding message I was hearing was while we accept the state’s ruling allowing medical cannabis to be grown, processed and distributed, we’re really not comfortable with it being here,” she said.

Also, Keegan-Ayer said, a number of her colleagues were not too comfortable with medical marijuana being grown in Frederick County. “If you are a farmer, and you would really like this opportunity in Frederick County, I urge to work with your leadership and get them more comfortable with the growing of this crop and what you’d like to see,” she said.

The farmers who were not opposed to the growing of medical cannabis preferred that it take place in areas zoned for industrial use, not in agricultural areas. Keegan-Ayer said the plant would be grown in greenhouses, and the operation would not emit any light between dusk and dawn.  She said these facilities would not have armed guards or barbed wire.

After the bill was tabled, Council President Bud Otis praised Keegan-Ayer for all of her hard work on the bill

The Council will also hold another hearing on proposed noise legislation. The measure would define excessive noise and make it a civil rather than a criminal offense.

During their discussion, the board added an amendment to the legislation allowing blasting operations for demolition, construction, mining and quarrying take place between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The original bill would allow the blasting to begin at 8:00 AM.

The law would be enforced by the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says he wanted to make the law uncomplicated. “It was really to come in  and amend the bill, and not to  dismantle the bill and rewrite the ordinance. It was to come in to make it a civil infraction; to allow us to go out in a reasonable way to enforce the noise ordinance of Frederick County,” he said.

He also wanted some flexibility for his deputies, noting that many disputes between citizens over noise can be settled without writing citations. “I’m not out to write citations. It’s not a revenue stream. We’re out to solve a problem. And if we can do that without writing a citation, we’ll do that everyday. We just wanted to make this very simply a civil citation versus a criminal situation,” Sheriff Jenkins says.

The Council set no date for the public hearing.

By Kevin McManus