Dispensary zoning change approved, tattoo parlor restrictions removed at Westminster meeting

Dispensary zoning change approved, tattoo parlor restrictions removed at Westminster meeting
The proposed location of a medical cannabis dispensary is office suite K at 700 Corporate Center Court in Westminster. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

A planning and zoning ordinance paving the way for a proposed medical marijuana dispensary and another ending a ban on opening tattoo parlors downtown were passed during the most recent meeting of the Westminster Mayor and Common Council.

For the first time, the council approved an application to apply the Medical Cannabis Overlay District zoning to a property in the city, voting unanimously at Monday’s meeting.


A medical marijuana dispensary, CarrollCanna, is planned to open at 700 Corporate Center Court in the coming months.

“It was inspiring to hear the stories offered by the public — those who are patients and caregivers, and how they have benefited from the use of medical cannabis. We look forward to offering a location in Carroll County to patients who need medical cannabis,” Diane Davison, president of DLD Enterprises Inc., the company that will operate the dispensary, wrote in an email to the Times.

Davison’s application to the city began in October 2017. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission requires a dispensary to meet all local zoning and planning demands in addition to state conditions.

Further approvals will still be needed before the facility can begin doing business. Davison said the state cannabis commission inspects each dispensary applicant prior to opening.

“We hope to open this spring, but understand that there is a permit process and other governmental requirements with the city of Westminster, Carroll County and the state of Maryland prior to opening our doors to patients,” she said.

Despite the fact that many public comments focused on the potential merits and dangers of a dispensary in the proposed location, the council’s decision hinged only on whether the application met all zoning requirements.

“We were doing our part of the larger process created by the Maryland state legislature,” Common Council President Robert Wack said.

Mayor Joe Dominick, who is not a voting member of the council, explained that the council was not voting on whether there should be a dispensary in Westminster, but whether the proposed dispensary met all of the previously established guidelines.

Representatives of any other medical cannabis facility seeking to have the overlay district applied to their property will need to undergo their own separate application to the city.

Dominick said he was glad that people with chronic pain and their spouses would not have to drive out of the county to get the treatment for which they are approved.

At the Jan. 22 public hearing, members of the community spoke in favor of the proposed dispensary. No commenter spoke in opposition to the ordinance.

Some did speak against the facility at a previous public hearing before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“No one who spoke against that in the planning and zoning hearing has since shown up or submitted further comment,” Wack said.

More information about the dispensary is available at

Fixing a ‘mistake’

A separate ordinance was passed to once again allow tattoo parlors to operate downtown and in the city’s major business zones in another unanimous vote Monday.

In 2007, the Common Council passed a controversial zoning code amendment that blocked new tattoo parlors from opening in downtown areas.

Wack said the ordinance fixes “a mistake” that was made by the council.

A public hearing was held before the vote, but there were no citizen comments.

Tattoo parlors currently in operation in the city were either established before the 2007 legislation or are in a separate zoning area such as the industrialized business zone along Md. 140.

Additional changes to Westminster zoning are planned for the coming year and an update to the city’s zoning ordinance is a priority in the upcoming strategic plan.

“Our zoning is overly complicated,” Wack said.

Dominick said currently there are four different zones in downtown alone, an example of the need for simplification.

“We want it to be simple and business-friendly,” he said, adding that potential business owners should be able to “easily look at it and say, ‘This is what I can and cannot do’ — with less of ‘what I cannot do.’ ”