Maryland Panel Names Medical Marijuana Dispensary Winners

Maryland moved another step closer to making medical marijuana available to patients with the announcement Friday of preliminary licenses for 102 dispensaries across the state.

The companies picked to run the dispensaries now must undergo additional review by the state and pass inspections before opening. They'll also have to wait for Maryland's growers and processors to produce medical cannabis products, a process that has been complicated by litigation and political wrangling.

Maryland's medical marijuana program — already off to a slow start — might still be a year or more away.

"Patients probably won't be served until late 2017 or early 2018," said Darrell Carrington, executive director of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association. "That's the reality."


United States of Marijuana: These Might Be the Next 5 States to Legalize Weed

Somebody's got to be the first state to free the weed through the legislature.

Four states, including California, the nation’s most populous, voted to legalize marijuana on November 8. That doubles the number of legal states to eight, and more than quadruples the number of people living in legal marijuana states, bringing the number to something around 64 million.

Every one of those states legalized marijuana through the initiative process, but we’re not going to see anymore initiatives on state ballots until 2018, and perhaps 2020. That means that if we are to make more progress on spreading marijuana legalization in the next couple of years, it’s going to have to come at the state house instead of the ballot box.


Maryland Medical Marijuana Panel Will Hire Diversity Consultant

The Maryland Cannabis Commission announced Monday it will hire a consultant to review what steps — if any — it could take to improve diversity in the state's nascent medical marijuana industry.

The consultant will determine if it is feasible to conduct a study of whether minorities have been unfairly excluded from the industry, among other tasks. Such a determination would allow Maryland to consider race when awarding licenses to grow, process or distribute marijuana for medical use.

The announcement follows the filing of a lawsuit alleging the commission improperly ignored race when evaluating applicants for licenses, and calls by African-American lawmakers to halt the licensing process.


A Third Jilted Cannabis Firm Sues Maryland Medical Marijuana Regulators

Another company that was denied a license to grow medical marijuana in Maryland has filed a lawsuit against state cannabis regulators, this time alleging that they didn’t follow a law calling for racial diversity in the potentially lucrative industry. 

The suit filed Monday by Alternative Medicine Maryland asks a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge to halt the burgeoning medical marijuana program until the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission takes action to ensure racial and ethnic diversity among licensed growers.

Although the state’s medical marijuana legalization law calls for regulators to “actively seek to achieve” racial and ethnic diversity in awarding growing licenses, the commission did not consider the race of applicants.


State of the Leaf: Marijuana Legalization News Roundup

U.S. News Updates



How a Maryland lawmaker shaped the medical marijuana industry — and joined it

About the time the Maryland legislature’s longtime champion for medical cannabis joined a company looking to dispense the drug, he urged state regulators to remove a restriction on the sale of edible marijuana products.

Two months later, Del. Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County) sought feedback from regulators for his plans to introduce legislation allowing dentists, podiatrists and certain nurse practitioners to join physicians in recommending cannabis to patients.

Such interactions, detailed in emails obtained by The Washington Post, shed light on the contact the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission had with Morhaim, whose legislative colleagues are scheduled to meet Oct. 19 to decide whether to investigate the lawmaker’s dual roles.


Losing Maryland Medical Marijuana Grower Applicant Sues the State

A company that lost its bid to grow medical marijuana in Maryland has filed a lawsuit alleging that regulators illegally rejected its application in favor of lower-ranked businesses from underrepresented parts of the state.

It’s the first legal challenge to the medical cannabis program, which has been embroiled in various controversies and remains in the early stages of making the drug available to patients more than three years after lawmakers first legalized its medical use.


Black Maryland Lawmakers Push for Diversity in Marijuana Industry

Maryland’s black state lawmakers are weighing options to ensure that the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry includes its fair share of minority-owned businesses.

The Legislative Black Caucus, which comprises 45 of the General Assembly’s 188 members, has criticized the lack of racial diversity in an independent commission’s licensing of 15 companies to grow and 15 businesses to process the drug. Only one grower license and one processor license were awarded last month to businesses with some sort of minority leadership.


Maryland: County Considers Cannabis Cultivation on Agricultural Land

The Frederick County Council is considering a disputed proposal to allow medical marijuana cultivation on land zoned for agriculture.

County land-use regulations currently allow medical marijuana cultivation only in industrial zones. The Frederick County Farm Bureau opposes the bill, which is scheduled for a vote Tuesday evening.

Opponents say they consider medical marijuana cultivation a form of drug production. Critics also have raised security concerns.

Supporters include local farmer Larry Gude, who applied for but did not receive one of the 15 preliminary grower licenses that the Maryland Cannabis Commission awarded earlier this month. Gude and a business partner had planned to grow marijuana in a greenhouse on his family farm.


Maryland: Losing Companies Seek Answers on Medical Cannabis Licensing Decisions

The state's medical cannabis commission plans to reveal its rankings of prospective growers and processors this week, as complaints mount about the lack of diversity among the winning companies.

Dr. Paul Davies, chairman of the medical cannabis commission, said the selections were made without commissioners knowing the identity or background of the applicants. He said he's "very happy" that some of the winning companies are run by women or racial minorities.

Racial diversity was was not a factor in deciding which applicants were awarded licenses to grow and process the drug this month.


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