We all knew that the big bad WEED was coming to Maryland. There were all kinds of hints. The General Assembly passed a bill allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, our very own county council also passed a bill, and there were signs all over TJ Drive advertising said dispensary a few weeks back! You would really have to have had your head buried into the sand to see this wasn’t coming!
Which brings us to yesterday’s article in the Frederick News Post. Our very own 287g High Sheriff was “surprised” that Wellness Solutions has actually set up shop! In his very own back yard! Now the whole county is going to be running around like a character from Reefer Madness, right? To stop the spread of this very real evil, the sheriff decides to make his very own field trip to the devil’s den to see the debauchery with his own eyes.
You see, the High Sheriff has spent his career going after the pot heads, and now that people are finally accepting that this villianization of marijuana may have actually hurt people who have been cut off from a drug that has been shown to ease seizures in epileptics and relieve pain in cancer patients,people’s opinions are changing. Wellness Solutions, much like a traditional pharmacy, is dispensing small amounts of cannabis for medical conditions diagnosed by a doctor. They are not flinging joints out to every Tom, Dick and Harry that walks through their door. Here’s a great article on how marijuana came to be the boogey man that our sheriff identifies it as today. ( Spoiler alert: Nixon is a maniac!)
One good take from the article is that the sheriff seems to feel a little better about the whole thing. So hopefully, he won’t station his deputies out in the parking lot and will allow these people to get the relief they deserve. For we have an actual drug problem in this county that has nothing to do with small amounts of marijuana.
The agenda was all flip floppy tonight because the High Sheriff had other obligations and wanted to speak about the noise ordinance. A few weeks back Sheriff Jenkins was in the house to discuss changes to said bill. His main objective is to change this from a criminal offense to a civil one. The logic being that since the burden of proof for a criminal citation is so hard to reach, issuing a civil citation would allow law enforcement to better deal with this issue.
Well Billy Shreve, our very own dirt bike expert and connoisseur, has oh so many problems. The list of changes he wants to make is long and futile. He even suggests that the county would have to hire a sound engineer to properly deal with this issue. It is at this point that the High Sheriff states that all of Shreve’s amendments are unreasonable. And oh my, my, my is there trouble in paradise? Could it be that aggravation with the legislatin’ style of Billy Shreve has spread far and wide? Tony also jumps on the anti-Shreve train and accuses Billy of playing a game of semantics. In the end, Kirby is the only one who votes for his amendments. At least he still has one friend left.
Kirby’s suggestion that construction starting time be moved to 7 a.m. means the bill needs to be re-written and voted on at a later time.
Back to public comments. Some are still not too happy about the cannabis.
Kirby is sure weird things are afloat in the budget.
County Executive appointments are all good. Has there ever been an explanation as to why Shrelauter refuses to say aye?
Councilwoman Keegan-Ayer tries to clear up the misinformation over the medical cannabis bill. But no matter what she says, there will always be those who hear the big scary word “marijuana” and go absolutely cray cray!
Because of all the scandals and the inability of some of her council members to understand facts, she has decided to lay the bill on the table. Which means that as of today, because it’s the end of the 90 day period, the bill will die. We are so very sad to see this happen. Bud Otis commends the Vice President for all of her hard work on this issue. The most Deplorable of the Deplorables pipes up and yells to Bud:”How were you going to vote on it?” Bud calmly states that the bill has been tabled to which Billy screams, “That’s what I thought!” Now, dear readers, we don’t like to say we hate people. We hate their actions, we think they do really dumb things, we think they aren’t qualified to hold public office, etc., etc. But right now, we HATE Shreve.
And then the other representative in the Shrelauter department apparently mistakenly thought the # signal had been activated.
It would have been difficult to follow his seemingly wrecked train of thought, had we not had this handy dandy guide from just earlier where Kirby did this Red Letter Editor thingamabob. If you are thinking it’s like Red Letter Christian, it’s totally not like that. Here is a field guide to a fairly typical mantrum from The Red Visaged Kirby.
Of course, Jerry Donald did some fact checking during his public comments. Thanks, Councilmember Donald, for keeping him honest. Or trying, at any rate.
At the 7:00 hour we embarked upon our scheduled public hearings. First up on the list was the proposed pilot program for medical marijuana. This is the third incarnation of this bill as there have been lots of concern. And honestly, while some valid questions have been asked, it seems a lot of the outrage is due to misinformation and fear of marijuana. We heard quite a few speakers refer to barbed wire and armed security guards. Something that is not required by the State bill or this proposal. There also seems to be some fear that all agricultural land is going to be turned into pot farms with hippies running wild and drug dealers shooting up the county. Former Sheriff Hagy, who happens to live next to the proposed site, spoke most rationally about the situation. He stated that this particular piece of property had greenhouses on it with a previous owner and it did not change the land from being a farm. Also, from a security standpoint he stated he did not see any substantial problems. Another speaker, who has actually grown medical marijuana, stated that the only security problems he has had is with law enforcement. There was a lot of talk of the evils of marijuana, devaluation of properties and crime. We hope that the Federal Government will sooner rather than later take marijuana off their Schedule I list. For it is a concern for all involved that the Feds could decide to step in. A final decision will be made on October 4th.
Next up on the docket is changes to the noise ordinance. County Attorney Kearney and Sheriff Jenkins gave a presentation to the council about how this needs to be changed. Jenkins argued that his office needs a real tool that they can use. Sheriff Jenkins even went as far to say: “Listen, this is harder to solve than a murder.” Currently, the noise ordinance is unenforceable because of the criminal standard that must apply. The proposed changes will make the 1st offence a civil citation and will expand the list of people who could issue citations. Kirby’s concerned about the hours(7am-10pm) and claims that most people have their kids on the bus by 6:30-7 so who cares if construction starts early? Tony would start at 4:30 a.m. if ya let him! Must have forgotten that only highschoolers get up that early and there’s plenty of people without kids in the school system or without children at all! Then he questions how loud 90 decibels is. The sheriff says he doesn’t know, and we are thinking durh internet! Which Tony finally consults! But as the Sheriff mentioned time and time again it isn’t just about decibels, it’s also about distance of your property from said noise and the length of time the noise is present. There appears to be a problem with people being inconsiderate with their music down county because there were an quite a few people from that area. Another issue is ATV’s and dirt bikes. Not the occasional driver, but those neighbors who decide to set up a track on their property and annoy everyone around them every single weekend. We wish that people would be more considerate of one another for noise pollution is truly unnerving. Remember way back when the American Army got Manuel Noriega to surrender by blasting loud rock music. It can cause anyone to lose their marbles. And since there’s always going to be that jerk we need the Sheriff’s office to have a tool to enforce this ordinance. An interesting fact we learned is that you can actually check out a noise meter from the Sheriff’s office and take your own readings. So, if you are having a problem with an unruly neighbor keep that in mind.
Public comments were limited to the very important problem of fracking. We are fully on these people’s side when we say we would like to see a ban to any and all fracking in our State and County!
After such a long meeting you might expect that it ended with many lengthy tirades from several of our council members. Nope not this night. They were all tuckered out after this marathon meeting. Kirby actual had no comments to contribute. Can you believe it?
Tony managed a short little tirade that even though he is not an accountant and not a lawyer, he is still required to pass budgets and make legislative decisions. Did he not read the job description before running for office? At any rate, even though he is not one of these so called experts, he thinks his opinion is still right and they are wrong. He thinks the charter needs to be rewritten to close the loophole that almost prevented the council from being aware that we sent Charm City’s money back. We’ll see if he works to make that happen.
Billy gave a shout out to MC for keeping the meeting running smoothly and he is looking forward to the noise ordinance workshop.
Jerry really wants all his constituents to contact him if they have positions they want him to be aware of on the issues that were discussed tonight.
Jessica is going to propose that there be a workshop on fracking. Thanks again to all who came out to speak.
MC thanks all that hung in for the whole meeting. She thanked the Independent Hose for their banquet. Thanked Fire and Rescue and Emergency personnel for all they do. Please attend the fair to support our local agriculture. Saturday October 15 at the Public Safety Training Center there will be a household hazardous waste drop off day from 8am – noon. also Frederick Community Health Fair on October 22 at the Frederick Fair Grounds from 9am -3pm. So take your hazardous waste and then get yourself checked out.
Bud expressed his appreciation at being able to attend the 9/11 ceremony that took place. The Seton center open house took place last week. The Sisters there take donations and have a sales center for the purpose of helping the less fortunate in our community. Bud attended the Brunswick Business Breakfast where it was announced that Weis is coming to Brunswick and the town is excited about that. Fix I 270 coalition is coming back and hopefully Montgomery County and Frederick County can work on solving some of our traffic issues. On October 25th there will be a workshop on the Citizens/Montevue report that Shreve has been asking for.
Both Bud and MC scooped Farm Bureau ice cream for FCPS students on field trips to the fair. They both enjoyed it and MC is sorry that she won’t be back another day so that you too can see her fall in the freezer while she tries to scoop.
One of the hotbox topics last night was concerning M.C. Keegan-Ayer’s proposed legislation to establish a pilot program allowing medical cannabis to be grown in agricultural zones in Frederick County. If you have not been following this matter, medical cannabis growth is currently permitted in industrial zones only. She moved to approve an amendment to that legislation, which provides for the recommendations that previous public commenters spoke about and the planning committee put forth. Setbacks and enclosures and stuff like that. So, responsive government, FTW!
Jerry Donald said that his constituents’ feedback has been overwhelmingly opposed to this program, so that is where he stands. However, the feedback from the public having been added into the legislation, it made sense to pass that amendment and let this matter return to a public hearing situation so that the public might have their say about the proposed changes. Can you imagine? Rare as a unicorn! A legislator who is listening to his constituents and behaving?! FWIW, we are into the medical cannabis and we wish we could have our way, but M.C. and Jessica are our laydeez, and Jerry isn’t. Both of them pretty much always seem to be doing what we would vote for, up to and including using the council member comments portion as a teachable moment for those who need the education. Mrs. Fitzwater got voted teacher of the year last night at the Yokel desk. The whole system seems to be working ideally as a representative democracy. We previously received some tsk-tsk genre feedback about our opinions on medical cannabis–formed due to friends suffering through cancer treatment–and what would befall Jerry if he supported this, but it seems like Jerry Donald is able to figure out what to do and isn’t even motivated at all to please us, which makes total sense and good for you, Jerry! You’re doing it right, too!
This entire discussion went exactly as good government ought to. In hindsight, we have come to realize this is mainly due to the fact that Billy Shreve is not opposed to it, so we didn’t have to listen to the obligatory buffoonery segment. We are so sorry to even mention this, because we thought today could be the day Billy’s clip was going to stay on green for the entirety of a meeting. He even made a quick witted joke, but then ruined it by immediately being a total jerk to Bud Otis (who, as one who was elected at-large, also seems to be doing what floats a lot of boats, so all that Turncoat Talk is also a bunch of hogwash). As it turns out, Billy later plummeted quickly through yellow and his clip was demoted to red. Per usual. Who is going to draw the short straw and have to call home about this?
This meeting started with all the regular malarkey. There was a grand opening event in the first public comment section. Thanks be to Yokel reader and frequent public commenter Patrick Schempp. He came with audio effects so that we could all hear Blaine Young at the last BOCC meeting brag about how he screwed us all for generations to come. That’s may be a slight paraphrase, but not at all a mischaracterization of the attitude. The AV Club presentation ran a little long, so by the fourth minute of the meeting Billy had already started his insolent griping at Bud about controlling the meeting. I think Mr. Schempp must’ve hurt Billy’s feelings…
And then came the consent items, and Kirby took the opportunity to wail on the most brittle skeletal remains of his favorite dead horse. One of the consent items involved BOE money and that was going to affect Jerry and Jessica’s salaries. Oh. Mon. Dieu. How many times are we going to go over this? But he knows. He just wants the public to know that if they vote on the whole consent agenda one of the line items will give money to the BOE to decide what to do with it, and years down the road the teachers on the Council may benefit from it. Probably maybe eventually they will see seventeen cents more than they had yesterday. Shut up, Kirby. Shut. Up. We are bored of your stupidity. Jerry and Jessica both responded, kind of the same way they always do when Kirby pulls this crap (oh, consent items passed, in spite of time wasted).
Other Shrelauter horse carcass flogging included the continued denial of the science of water. Why should we comply with the Clean Water Act? Again (and this is a review for Kirby, too–goodness no wonder they have no respect for education issues, look how it helped them comprehend nothing at all). To ignore the problems with erosion and pollution that Shrelauter disbelieves, there are significant fines and prison time at stake. Why be bothered with reality, though. Also Billy says it is good thing that they have learned some of our local streams are polluted by animals. Tony jovially concluded that they need to shoot more deer. The thing is, we are pretty that you are NOT just allowed to go shoot the domesticated bovines standing in area streams, and their pies are so much more copious than the fewmets left by deer. But harharhar. Thriving animal populations or whatever. This is a positive spin a la “the Grand Canyon is beautiful and caused by erosion.” Psst Billy: our troubles here are generally caused by sediment deposition. Also, according to Billy our water is obviously fine. “No one has died.” (true story) O.K. Please explain how we are to listen to your possibly lead poisoned brain thoughts and reach the same “it’s all good” conclusion. We’ll be waiting…
A new and head-scratching thing occurred during the discussion concerning the payment in lieu of tax agreement to establish workforce housing on North Market Street. Billy seemed at a loss when he was told about fair housing laws. This means incentives can’t be given to certain classes of people. He was hoping it would be guaranteed somehow that the available units would be filled by teachers, nurses and first responders of the highest workforce caliber and obviously not some ambiguous lesser riffraff. Indignantly, he demanded to know what laws. This ignorance was shocking to your yokels, only because we have bought houses and dealt with realtors. Then we remembered: Billy is a realtor. We don’t know if our jaws will ever come off the floor.
A quick and dirty guide to the hot topics:
Everybody likes the hotel tax. Except Randy Cohen of the Holiday Inn (can’t really blame him for that, but try as he might that Holiday Inn is not going to move itself downtown, so…). He did bring a couple of friends. One of them was so angry about Redheaded Eskimos.
Nobody likes the medical marijuana pilot program. They all came out of the woodwork to say so.
Council member comments at the end of the evening had us laughing so hard we were unable to breathe and nearly passed out from lack of oxygen. Kirby is still complaining about his lease back option getting nixed. And just because it was obviously a terrible idea from the first day! Billy had a lot to say, and this post would be twice as long if we just focused on that (see yourself at 5 hours 43 minutes, no, that is not a typo). Jessica ducked out because of new motherhood, and she honestly must have been miserable by that point and probably wouldn’t have even been able to laugh at her neighbor on the dias. We highly recommend that she does as promised and goes back to watch them. Of course she will. She is a responsible council person.
There is another phrase kind of like beating a dead horse, but it is much cruder and involves a chicken. If this redundant stuff continues, we may be forced to drag that ghastly thing out. We can’t keep being forced to say the same things over and over again just because Shrelauter hasn’t had a fresh thought in over a year.
So the meat of that meeting on Tuesday was the Medical Cannabis legislation, which would seek to allow special zoning exceptions that would permit medical cannabis to be grown in agricultural zones rather than exclusively in industrial zones. Lots of people said lots of stuff, mostly good points both for and against, with a sprinkling on top of those trembling in fear of the slippery slope that descends into Reefer Madness.
We’d like to extend a shout out to Kevin Kennedy of Kojak Industries in Mt. Airy for really distilling the essence of this legislation. He stood (March 8th, around the 42″ mark) to say that this is purely a zoning issue. Of 23 counties in Maryland, 15 licenses for the cultivation of medical cannabis will be approved. So to begin with there is no certainty that any of the applicants in Frederick County will receive a license. Passing this legislation only means there would be an opportunity for the community to consider a zoning exception within an agricultural area for a specific applicant, so it responsibly retains careful review and community feedback for each individual possible instance. Allowing the possibility means that should the community choose to grant such an exception, knowing all the details beforehand, there may be economic opportunity available to a grower’s business and that opportunity would extend other opportunities to any support service businesses in the local area. One reason this may be a better opportunity is the less expensive price of real estate in an agricultural zone as compared to an industrial zone. That is all.
Thanks for summing all that up, good sir. This structure of logical argument was darned refreshing. If only Kirby D. could, like, have a main idea and move in some sort of order when he has something to say. If you all understood what Kirby was rambling about during his Council Member Comments, that would have been a miracle. “Legislation thats getting people in the business of where the sheriff should be driving these negotiations…” Clear as mud. If you would like to look at House Bill 1556 or Senate Bill 1128, which he declined to give any context concerning (other than usurping local authority, which still failed to elucidate anything, because that’s a pure bred talking point), there’s a cool tool for that. Click on those links for a brief summary, or to read the whole bills if you so desire.
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.
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.