Evening update via Mary Jane, M.D.

The Local Yokel writers are always running around at 4:30 in the afternoon, because motherhood. As a result, we were late to the party at Winchester Hall (live via satellite, ehr whatever), but did get a listen with one ear to the speakers. Most came to discuss what were largely the pros of growing medical cannabis in Frederick County agricultural zones. The meat of the matter is that the zoning is written in such a way that this might only be allowed in industrial zones.

Image from Wikipedia: Neon sign from a medical marijuana dispensary on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.
Image from Wikipedia: Neon sign from a medical marijuana dispensary on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

A few of the people in favor are financially vested in this, so of course they came prepared and made good sense. Kevin Klink, who wants to operate a greenhouse, spoke about his plans and those of his greenhouse owning bro next door, who he has been giving financial advice on how to turn a profit at his floral greenhouse. Klink was joined by local attorney David Severn of Offit Kurman, as well as the CEO of Botanical Bio-Discovery.

Klink leases agricultural land from Gude, owner of Gude Brothers Greenhouse in Middletown. The pair has partnered with Botanical Bio-Discovery to apply for a license, Severn said. (Frederick News Post, October 14, 2015)

They said things like: medical cannabis is grown statewide in agricultural zones, there are plenty of examples elsewhere to show that secure facilities are not unsightly fortifications, that greenhouse growing is natural and efficient. It uses sunlight (not electric light), and this can be done safely and securely, just as it is elsewhere. Also the President of Frederick County Farm Bureau was there to say, though they’d rather not be involved in the issue, they view cannabis as an agricultural crop and hope the opportunity to grow it will be extended to farmers if it is going to be grown.

An interested member of the community who implied that he’s definitely no hippy, because there are few opportunities to experiment with pot at Westpoint…but times, they are a’changin’. He noted that the discussion is not about legalized recreational use, but that’s soon to be real and we don’t want to be left behind the times.
An LPN came in her capacity as a nurse/advocate to highlight the issue of patient needs, as well.

Cons were covered by Sheriff Jenkins and a lady who was confusing and sounded like just because she couldn’t be sure her farm was secure that meant it could not be done by anyone. Funny. I know the first only time I ever saw marijuana growing, it was in the ground, wild, on a camping trip in Nebraska. Why do they call it “weed”? Pretty sure there’s a reason…It’s unbelievable that we are successfully regulating this and putting people in prison, actually.

Chuck Jenkins, giving a spot on perfect impression of a typical Kirby Delauter indignant huff, said, “I can’t believe we are standing here having this conversation in Frederick County.” Also he’s not a doctor (whew, because you know why? Ben Carson is a brain surgeon, so maybe…Sheriff Jenkins is a doctor…terrifying), and he can’t afford any more drug enforcement. It could be unaffordable because he follows a political philosophy that is anti-tax and mostly anti-services in this county, while having the audacity to ask us to buy him a tank. Back on the other side of this screen, we would gladly pay for good law enforcement (and training! but NO armored vehicles) and all kinds of other stuff that makes communities nice. Like schools and teachers, too. The high sheriff went on to say that we should lead by saying we don’t approve of medical marijuana or dispensaries. Let’s not.

And the lady who wrapped it all up had real heart. She said at one time she’d have been on the sheriff’s side, but she’s a breast cancer survivor who found that medical cannabis made a valuable contribution that “changed the course of her treatment.” The local ladies know other women who have gone or are going through this. We hear you LOUD and CLEAR. Thank you for giving voice to reality. Cancer sucks, and you are a hero.

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