The Medical Cannabis Commission in Maryland approves 8 new medical marijuana growers. The growers just met the Monday deadline for approval to start legally cultivating and selling their plants to medical cannabis dispensaries throughout the state. Will more growers be approved? What about licensed dispensaries?
Maryland’s Medical Marijuana Program
In 2013, state lawmakers approved a medical cannabis program in Maryland. Since its approval, every necessary process has been painstakingly slow. So far, only one dispensary in the entire state has been granted a license to provide medical cannabis. About 100 more dispensaries are awaiting approval.
Statewide, 12,000 Maryland residents have registered for potential eligibility for medical cannabis. 400 doctors have registered to become licensed cannabis recommenders. As of yet, there are twelve qualifying ailments that would allow a patient in Maryland to have access to medical cannabis.
Before Monday, there were fifteen growing firms in the running for state approval. Monday was the deadline for growers to begin their operations, or risk losing their preliminary license. Before Monday, only one grow firm had been approved. Now that Maryland approves 8 new medical marijuana growers, there are nine licensed cultivators to provide cannabis to state dispensaries.
There’s still more work to be done, however. In order to adequately provide the medicine that cannabis patients need, more dispensaries need to be approved to start operations. There’s also another matter that needs to be addressed. Of the fifteen cannabis grow firms who were granted preliminary licenses, none were owned by African Americans. The Chair of the General Assembly’s Legislative Black Caucus, Cheryl Glenn, has requested that Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission stop granting licenses until this issue is acknowledged and resolved.
Final Hit: Maryland Approves 8 New Medical Marijuana Growers
Although there are only nine fully licensed and approved medical cannabis growers in the state of Maryland, this marks an important step for the state’s medical marijuana program. While it’s true that there are thousands of residents who have been waiting to get legal cannabis, the fact that there are now legal growers could help clear the way for patients to receive the health care and treatment that they need is a good sign.
The next steps for Maryland’s medical marijuana program would be to authorize more dispensaries throughout the state. And also to license all of the doctors that have signed on to be medical cannabis providers.
The growers who have received final approval in Maryland are reportedly excited about their options. While some plan to open in-house dispensaries, others may want to keep things relatively simple and sell their cannabis wholesale to dispensaries.
Now that growers have been approved, the path has been made wider for dispensaries, will Maryland’s medical marijuana program extend its list of qualifying ailments? Time will tell. But in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of medical cannabis, anything is possible.