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OCEAN CITY - The debate over marijuana in “America’s Greatest Family Resort” continued March 25, with much of the public comment at Ocean City Council's meeting dominated by debate from those against banning its sale in the city.

“You’re banning medicine for sick and dying people here in Ocean City,” said Ed Grimes, an advocate for patients with disabilities. 

Ocean City March 11 introduced an ordinance banning the sale of cannabis or associated paraphernalia anywhere in town.The council unanimously supported it on first reading (https://bit.ly/3cnPlvx).

While the ordinance was not on the agenda March 25, as it needs to go before the Planning Board for approval, that did not stop the discussion from happening.

There may be a glimmer of hope for some medical cannabis advocates, courtesy of Council member Jody Levchuk. 

“I'm a very compassionate person, particularly for those who suffer from substance abuse, or are disabled, or living through any type of medical situation, and those folks have found medicinal marijuana to be of great help to them,” Levchuk said. “I'm not trying to set up marijuana stores here in Ocean City, but I do not want to find that we made a mistake limiting medical patients from being able to have access to their medication.”

Council member Keith Hartzell cautioned on the implication any decision could have on the brand.

“We don't allow the purchase of alcohol here for many reasons, mainly our brand,” said Hartzell.“Honestly, I just think the same thing has to be looked at very seriously with the marijuana issue.”

Jeffrey King, during public comment, said he thinks the two can coexist. 

“I appreciate that you're consistent in staying family-friendly and not welcoming alcohol, so it's consistent to not support people smoking marijuana for just recreational adult use. That’s not what we're talking about here. We're really trying to keep it limited to patients and people who are deserving of pain relief,” said King.

Ocean City Clerk Melissa Rasner did not immediately respond to an email asking when the ordinance would be scheduled for second reading and public hearing. 

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