LARGO, Md. (DC News Now) — The Prince George’s County Council is looking to place restrictions on where new marijuana dispensaries can be located.
Leaders said residents are concerned about dispensaries being in their neighborhoods, but those who oppose the bill say this decision could do more harm than good.
The bill would only allow new dispensaries to be located in industrial areas. District 6 Council Member Wala Blegay said this is something residents are asking for.
“We were very concerned of where the dispensaries would go, and I’m a little concerned of having them right in the middle of our communities,” Blegay said.
“We’re being proactive. When we address it, we won’t have to have it won’t impact the houses, the kids in the community,” she added.
Eddie Pounds is a lawyer and also helps people looking to open up dispensaries in Maryland. He said the county’s bill to restrict new dispensaries is a disadvantage for many.
“When you create barriers for potential entrepreneurs to find locations, it puts an undue burden on them,” said Pounds.
During this week’s county council meeting, a council member introduced an amendment that would allow dispensaries to be located in shopping centers. That amendment failed.
“Not everybody wants to go 10, 15, 20 minutes out of the way to go to what is really a retail use. Retail uses belong in commercial shopping centers,” said Pounds.
When asked whether this bill will have an economic impact on the county’s marijuana industry, Blegay said she doesn’t believe it will.
“If you look at the map, there is a lot of places that they can go, but I think it has to be a balance. So there’s plenty of opportunity for them… I mean, we will reap the benefits, but we have to have a balanced… approach,” said Blegay.
Pounds didn’t agree.
“It’s a huge missed opportunity. And I do believe that because of this undue burden that’s being placed on these prospective social equity applicants we can almost guarantee that there will be lawsuits against Prince George’s County,” he said.
There county council will make a final decision on the bill next month.