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Ocean City prohibits licenses for businesses allowing on-site marijuana usage

Pot in Sewage
Posted at 1:37 PM, Jun 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-01 17:48:07-04

OCEAN CITY, Md. — Ocean City is prohibiting businesses from obtaining licenses that permit the on-site use of marijuana.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore officially signed the Cannabis Reform Bill into law on May 3, after voters approved it overwhelmingly in November.

That means beginning July 1 certain businesses can legally sell marijuana for recreational use.

MORE: The road ahead for Maryland cannabis dispensaries

Within that legislation, businesses are able to obtain an “On-Site Consumption License” allowing customers on the property to smoke outdoors, vape, or consume cannabis.

During their May 30 meeting the Ocean City Council introduced Ordinance 2023, an amendment to Chapter 14 of the town code regulating businesses.

The new amendment specifically states the following.

(A) It shall be prohibited for an On-Site Consumption Establishment to operate within the corporate limits of Ocean City. No license or permit shall be issued at any time that authorizes said operation.

(B) It shall further be prohibited for any establishment to permit the consumption (smoked, vaped, or otherwise ingested) of cannabis or cannabis products or edible cannabis products on-site.

According to the newly added ordinance, violators can face fines.

(1) Any person, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association, or other business entity who shall violate any of the provisions of the following laws, ordinances or resolutions or who shall fail to comply therewith, or who shall violate or fail to comply with any such order made thereunder, within the time fixed therefor, shall, for each and every such violation and/or noncompliance respectively, be deemed to have committed a "municipal infraction," punishable by a fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $1,000.00.

In making their decision, the Council cited a section of the law they say allows them to take such action.

"Ocean City finds that in order to promote and protect the public’s health, safety and welfare, a prohibition of the operation of on-site consumption establishments and the prohibition to the issuance of any license that would permit on-site consumption of Cannabis is just and proper," said Deputy City Manager, Elton "J.R." Harmon. "Ocean City finds that it is within its right, as a political subdivision, to prohibit the operation and licensing of on-site consumption establishments."