Embroiled in controversy and set back by a myriad of delays since voters expressed their desire for medical marijuana legalization in 2013, the state of Maryland finally appears ready to open the proverbial doors of its medical cannabis market.
Many eyes are on the state as it attempts to correct course and execute the beginning of a monumental new era for Marylanders and those in surrounding areas like Virginia, Delaware, and Washington D.C. who currently lack access to legal dispensaries.
Just a few weeks ago, Patrick Jameson, executive director of the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission, became the second person in that position to resign in the past two years. The former Maryland state trooper will step down tomorrow at the end of the month.
But Jameson hasn’t been the only person to give up a seat on the commission, though others didn’t have a say in the matter. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan removed 10 of the 16 commission members this summer in the face of mounting criticism of the lack of diversity among the chosen licensees.
Language in the medical marijuana legislation called for racial diversity in the license application selection process, yet the commission still managed to award 100 percent of the state’s grow licenses to White applicants in a state comprised of 31 percent Black residents.
The egregious lack of compassion toward a group hit particularly hard by the war on drugs was somewhat unsurprising considering the state’s history of disproportionate marijuana arrests, but hopefully, new members of the commission take the responsibility of constructing the state’s medical marijuana program more seriously and grant the highly coveted licenses to the most qualified candidates who represent the diverse communities.
The timing of Jameson’s resignation is curious, as this is a crucial time for a commission issuing licenses to prospective growers, processors, and dispensary owners preparing for the initial wave of sales. Dispensaries that wish to attain legal status in the state have until Dec. 8 to garner a green light from the commission and an additional week to open their doors before the Dec. 15 deadline. If businesses don’t have their paperwork in order by mid-December, they risk not being permitted to legally sell medical marijuana to patients.
Maryland’s first licensed dispensary, the Wellness Institute of Maryland in Frederick, opened in July, though they’ve only been able to take “pre-orders” from patients eager to secure their legal medicine for the first time. Other dispensaries have opened since and are accepting patient registrations and advance sales before their supply of medical marijuana becomes available. The initial crops grown by Maryland’s first cohort of licensed cultivators has been harvested and is now in the lab testing phase.
Potomac Holistics, a dispensary in Rockville, is planning to open on Friday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m. and has advertised they will have dozens of strains in stock for patients with a valid doctor’s recommendations, their state medical marijuana registration, and cash.
NEW: MoCo's *first* medical #marijuana dispensary set to open this Friday at 11 a.m.
•Potomac Holistics' address: 14808 Physicians Lane Suite 211 – Rockville
•Dozens of strains will be in stock
•State registration + doctor's note required
•Cash only, insurance will not cover pic.twitter.com/L3p45zrmRB
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) November 29, 2017
Here are the current license holders in the state of Maryland:
Curio Cultivation (Baltimore County)
Doctors Orders, doing business as Heirloom (Dorchester)
ForwardGro (Anne Arundel)
Freestate Wellness (Howard)
Green Leaf Medical (Frederick)
Grow West MD (Garrett)
Harvest of Maryland (Washington)
HMS Health (Frederick)
Holistic Industries (Prince George’s)
Kind Therapeutics USA (Washington)
Maryland Compassionate Care and Wellness, dba Grass Roots (Carroll)
Shore Natural Rx (Worcester)
SunMed Growers (Cecil)
Temescal Wellness (Baltimore City)
AFS Maryland (Worcester County)
Blair Wellness Center (Worcester)
Chesapeake Alternatives (Queen Anne’s)
Curio Manufacturing (Baltimore)
Doctors Orders Maryland (Dorchester)
Holistic Industries (Prince George’s)
Kind Therapeutics USA LLC (Washington)
Maryland Compassionate Care and Wellness, dba as Grass Roots (Carroll)
Pharmaculture Corporation (Allegany)
Pro-Green Medical (Frederick)
Rosebud Organics (Montgomery)
Temescal Wellness of Maryland (Baltimore City)
Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary (Allegany County)
Cannabus, dba Potomac Holistics (Montgomery)
Growing Ventures, dba Greenhouse Wellness (Howard)
GTI Maryland, dba Rise Silver Spring (Montgomery)
K & R Holdings, dba Kannavis (Frederick)
Maryland Wellness Access, dba Remedy Columbia (Howard)
Peninsula Alternative Health (Wicomico)
Southern Maryland Relief (St. Mary’s)
Wellness Institute of Maryland (Frederick)
Cover image courtesy of Tyler Hoff