Inside Green Point Wellness in Linthicum Monday, a small lobby was filled to capacity with dignitaries and staffers as the medical marijuana dispensary prepared to open its doors.
Workers at the front desk checked IDs, just as they would any prospective customer. Those on hand jostled for position as they waited for the ribbon cutting ceremony followed by a tour of the facilities.
For Anne Arundel, Tony and Laura Toskov’s facility represents the first in the county.
While the county is set to have 12 licensed dispensaries, it has taken years for the first growers and dispensaries to receive final approvals. The state approved the medical use of cannabis in 2013.
And even as he finally opened his doors not far from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, he voiced displeasure at how difficult the process was.
County council passed a bill in April that required medical marijuana dispensaries north of Route 50 or north of the northeast shore of the South River to be at least 1,000 feet away from a residence or school building.
“It was extremely complicated for us to find a location because of the setbacks in the county and what with their rules,” he said. “We worked about eight months to try to find a location and we were extremely nervous that we weren’t going to be able to find one.”
For north county, part of the BWI-Fort Meade corridor that county officials point to as a core economic driver for the region, the Toskovs’ business represents a trend of businesses investing outside of Annapolis.
“We have the large economic indicators up here,” said Fran Schmidt, former CEO of the North County Chamber of Commerce.
The Toskovs have said they want their business to have an air of “class” and the design featured Monday reflects that. Large TVs with product listings are positioned above soft, armless couches. The front desk has marble countertops that sit on top of pristine hardwood floors.
As the Toskovs cut the green-colored ribbon, people in attendance for the opening flocked inside to see the facility.
But the couple is hopeful that it will attract a specific kind of customer: those recovering from opioid addiction.
The two have said they hope it can become a center to prescribe medical cannabis to those looking to ease themselves off pain medication.
According to police statistics, they’re located in the part of the county best situated to reach those potential clients. The Northern District of the police department responds to the most calls for opioid overdoses compared to the three other districts and Annapolis.