ANNAPOLIS, Md. —
Anne Arundel County held its first special exception hearing Thursday morning to allow a medical marijuana dispensary in a strip mall.
If the special exception is approved, the dispensary, Advanced Alternative Therapies LLC, would set up shop in a strip mall in the 20000 block of West Street in Annapolis.
What’s confusing is the current tenants aren’t sure whether they can stay or go. There are also some concerns because a portion of the building sits in the county and in the city of Annapolis.
Currently, the strip mall has a Papa John’s Pizza in the front and a now-vacant tattoo parlor in the back. Anne Arundel County’s administrative hearing officer will ultimately decide whether the dispensary should go there.
Witnesses for Advanced Alternative testified about the so-called benefits of medical cannabis and said that it would be a good fit for the community.
Those in opposition, like Annapolis Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles, pointed out that because the building sits on the city-county line, there are issues with it being too close to a school and a residential area.
“We’re objecting to the location and the inundation of traffic. The people who live in the community have been there many generations. The school, that’s primary, which is very close, those are our objections,” Pindell Charles said.
Ray Sears, who owns the Papa John’s, said he first learned Thursday that, according to the renderings of the new building, he may be forced to leave, and that means his 30 employees could be out of work.
“Everybody talks, (saying), ‘The pizza parlor is moving out.’ I’m not moving out, I’m being kicked out,” Sears said.
Advanced Alternative’s lawyer, Jerry Feldman, told 11 News that nothing is in stone, and if