In about two weeks, recreational marijuana will be legal in Maryland, but cities can opt out

June 13 – On July 1, the new law legalizing recreational marijuana will take effect in Maryland, just across the border. 

Interestingly, the law states that local municipalities can opt out of that legalization. 

Yesterday, the town of Ocean City, MD, unanimously opted out of the recreational marijuana use – it can’t be used, consumed or bought in their town. 

Attorney Clint Barkdlol said, “It’ll be zero tolerance in Ocean City, Maryland, and the council was taking the position, they think it would be bad for the family atmosphere and the tourism of Ocean City. It will be interesting to watch over the next two weeks, will other cities in Maryland, whether it’s Hagerstown or Baltimore or wherever, might city councils take similar actions and opt out of this recreational marijuana law?”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “It’s certainly one that I’m going to send an email to Mayor Martinez in Washington County, and see if they’ll tackle that. How easy or difficult is this thing to do?”

Barkdoll explained, “It’s purely a local borough council decision. So Hagerstown certainly could do that, but they have to do it before July 1 when this law goes into effect. It’s interesting if you follow what Ocean City did. There was not a lot of debate among council because they clearly saw that this recreational marijuana creating a bad effect on tourism in the city. But I could envision maybe a city like Hagerstown, or let’s take Smithsburg or some other small town in the area, they may take the same argument that they just don’t want the influence that recreational marijuana would create in their communities. So I think it’d be a fair question to ask the Hagerstown officials.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “Will the argument be though we want the tax revenue for the marijuana businesses? To me I think you’d be giving up a lot more with getting a more unsettled atmosphere, let’s just call it that, and I believe you will see that when you have that more frequent.” 

Ryan noted, “And what a good example Ocean City is setting here.” 

Jansen added, “Have you heard people where it’s been legalized? You smell marijuana everywhere and it’s disgusting. I wouldn’t want to go to a tourism place and have that.”

Ryan pointed out that in Hagerstown, “it’s going to be an awful tight squeeze here because they have a work session this afternoon and they have a full session at the end of the month. So cramming this into the last second would be a Christmas miracle. I don’t think they’re going to be able to pull it off.”