Maryland issues with implementing medical marijuana laws have been challenging, but they are figuring it out slowly but surely. On Monday the state finalized the licenses for 8 more cultivators on top of the one they already have, which made some cultivators very happy that their long wait is over.
Many other states are still working through their legal medical marijuana rule structure, but to expect that implementation would be easy would be foolish. Legal marijuana businesses seem to find plenty of incentive to follow through with their business plan no matter what challenges are thrown at them. Are you familiar with your state’s challenges with implementing medical marijuana?
Maryland’s medical marijuana regulators approved final licenses for eight growing companies on Monday, allowing them to start cultivating the drug.
Several companies said they are ready to begin growing immediately, while others say they will take weeks to get started.
“Now, we have a real industry,” said Cary Millstein, CEO of newly licensed grower Freestate Wellness in Howard County.
Until Monday, just one of the 15 selected firms had received final permission to start cultivating medical marijuana, which was first legalized in the state in 2013. Even at full capacity, one firm could not produce nearly enough to support 102 planned dispensaries.
Marijuana industry research group New Frontier estimates Maryland’s market will be worth $221 million annually by 2021.
Millstein whooped as the commission approved his license, the first of several outbursts punctuating an otherwise staid government meeting in Harford County. Members of Temescal Wellness of Maryland’s team fist-bumped — one man danced in his seat and started rapidly texting champagne bottle emojis — as the company’s license to start growing in Baltimore was approved.
Some firms raced to meet Monday’s deadline to become operational.
Curio Wellness of Baltimore County, which also received its license Monday, has been waiting for more than two months for final approval to bring plants into its nine high-tech, climate-controlled growing chambers in a 56,000-square-foot Timonium warehouse.
“As with any start up industry, you’re bound to have bumps in the road,” Curio CEO Michael Bronfein said in a recent interview.
The last-minute approvals follow the rocky start to an industry that has been beset by lawsuits, controversy and delays.
State courts are reviewing two cases that allege Maryland regulators improperly picked which companies could grow the drug, and state lawmakers have weighed issuing more licenses to make sure some go to firms owned by African-Americans, who don’t own any of the 15 firms selected for preliminary growing licenses.
Del. Cheryl Glenn, the Baltimore Democrat who chairs the General Assembly’s Legislative Black Caucus, has called for the commission to stop issuing licenses.
Maryland’s beleaguered medical marijuana industry faces a critical deadline Monday, when companies the state has selected to grow the plant are required to be operational. Those that are not ready risk losing their lucrative licenses.
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