Ocean City Today

Construction for medical marijuana houses underway

By Brian Gilliland | Jul 06, 2017
Photo by: Brian Gilliland Three greenhouses intended for the cultivation of medical marijuana are under construction along Route 113 in Showell.

(July 7, 2017) Though the state legalized medical marijuana in 2012, not a single dispensary has opened, no patients have been treated and both the licensees and the regulators have remained quiet on the subject.

Three types of licenses are available: growers, processors and dispensers.

In Showell near Route 113, however, the first of the grow operations in Worcester is beginning to take shape. Three greenhouses are being built for the purposes of marijuana cultivation by licensee Shore Naturals LLC, registered to Erick Bruder, with an address in Ocean Pines.

The site is a former Perdue chicken facility, sold a couple of years ago bundled with others totaling approximately 700 acres in a deal worth about $3.5 million. The lot is less than a mile from the main facility representing the bulk of the 700 acres and only measures about 12 acres.

Shore Naturals is listed as the property owner, according to state property records, and the facility was purchased from Perdue Farms in November 2016 for $395,000.

Because of the way the property is zoned, County Zoning Administrator Jennifer Keener said, Shore Naturals did not have to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals or the Planning Commission to obtain permission to build the greenhouses.

“We handled it at the permit level only,” she said.

Eleven months ago, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission issued preapprovals to 15 growers and processors, who were then able to begin finalizing a location for a facility, obtaining local zoning and planning approvals, beginning construction, hiring and training staff.

A medical marijuana grow operation in Maryland can be located anywhere in the state, so long as proper zoning clearances are gained, according to the commission’s website.

Once those tasks are completed, the state will inspect the facilities to ensure the operation meets the requirements of the program, and matches the processes outlined in the application.

After successful completion of the inspection, the grower can begin operations. The commission provided no timeline for this process, and no record of an inspection at the Showell site has been made public.

The dispensaries are due at the end of the year, as required by the process outlined in painstaking detail in application materials now several years old, but dependent on a number of inspections and evaluations to be conducted by the state at its own discretion.

Erick Bruder declined a request for comment on this story.

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