On-site cannabis consumption license ban moves forward in Ocean City


OCEAN CITY, Md. – The start date for legal recreational adult-use marijuana in Maryland is quickly approaching.

Proposed Ban Moves Forward

Before then, Ocean City Council is trying to get ahead of all the changes that are coming. One way they’re doing that, is by moving forward with banning on-site cannabis consumption.

“For the health, safety, and welfare of our community, we really believe that’s the right position for us to take,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “We’re trying to minimize any problems that could be associated with that. We have had issues in the past.”

No questions or comments came from Ocean City Council Members, as they unanimously decided to advance the ban. If passed, the legislation would ban licensed businesses which allow legal recreational marijuana use in outdoor areas of their properties, in Ocean City.

“Maybe there are areas that would be conducive to this type of facility, but we just don’t believe Ocean City is one of them,” said Mayor Meehan.

Opting Out

Adult-use recreational marijuana becomes legal in Maryland on July 1st, 2023. The statewide legislation did come with a caveat, however; it includes language that Ocean City Director of Tourism & Business Development Tom Perlozzo says, Council will take advantage of.

“The bill actually allows jurisdictions like Ocean City to say yes, or no, as that’s reviewed,” said Perlozzo. “We’re going to continue being a family resort, and we probably won’t allow [on-site cannabis consumption.]”

Ocean City’s proposed legislation would allow them to do just that. And, smoking on the boardwalk and beach has been banned in the town since 2015.

“Everything is changing in the state, and we’re just trying to get ahead of it,” said Perlozzo. “It’s been very difficult for our police department to enforce all of that. But yes, we would like to keep the smoke away. We’d like to keep our resort the number one family destination on the East Coast.”

“Just not here in Ocean City.”

While cannabis consumption spots could be stopped from ever opening their doors in Ocean City, Mayor Meehan doesn’t believe the town is turning its back on the business community.

“There are certainly plenty of other opportunities throughout the state, and if there are areas that they think could be beneficial to their community, or conducive to their community, we encourage those types of operations,” said Mayor Meehan. “Just not here in Ocean City.”

Tuesday’s vote does not mean the bill goes into effect immediately. It now heads on to its first reading.

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