MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Recreational marijuana will become legal in Maryland starting this Saturday, July 1, and dispensaries are gearing up for what they expect will be massive demand.
Meanwhile, some city and county officials are already looking to put restrictions on how it can be consumed and even how it's marketed.
For the last five years, you could only legally buy marijuana in Maryland if you had a prescription but that all changes this weekend. Under the new law, adults 21 and up can purchase cannabis at a dispensary in Maryland for their own recreational use.
The gLeaf Dispensary is anticipating high demand, so they’ve added additional supply in their vaults and added additional workers to their staff at their two Maryland stores in Rockville and Frederick. On day one, they say they'll be taking additional steps to help first-time customers.
"Working them through the menu, we’ll answer any questions about our product and just to improve that customer experience so that their first experience here in a dispensary is a good one," said John DiNardo, vice president of gLeaf.
Montgomery County officials tell FOX 5 they’ve asked police commanders to look out for increased car and pedestrian traffic around dispensaries because people may line up overnight to be first in line Saturday.
"Where our populations are, are where you’ll see the most people. So Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton are where we expect to see the most volume," said Assistant Montgomery County Administrator Dr. Earl Stoddard.
County Executive Marc Elrich also says he's considering a county law to limit advertising by dispensaries to prevent marketing to kids.
"With tobacco and alcohol, we took things that are potentially dangerous and we’ve let people glamorize them for the sole purpose of driving people to become customers of these things, so we shouldn’t make this mistake again," Elrich said.
Montgomery County officials aren't the only ones hoping to get some restrictions in place ahead of the legalization.
Under state law, adults will be able to grow up to two plants for their personal use and be in possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis. It will be taxed at 9% and some financial analysts like Motley Fool estimate that this could generate $135 million in tax revenue.