Eight more medical cannabis businesses, including two in Baltimore City, have been cleared to open up shop in Maryland.
Members of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission voted to award final licensure to seven dispensaries and one processor in the state. Two of the newly licensed dispensaries are in Baltimore, bringing the city’s collection of cannabis businesses to five. The fledgling industry is 55 percent to its initial capacity, and business owners and regulators are still working to bring more company online, to meet ever-growing patient demand.
Since December, the number of registered patients and caregivers in Maryland has grown from about 18,000 to almost 32,000, demonstrating the great demand for the drug among Marylanders. That figure includes more than 100 minor patients and more than 120 hospice patients, according to the commission. The state has also registered more than 500 physicians, 190 nurses and 40 dentists as cannabis prescribers.
But the process of opening cannabis dispensaries, getting them fully licensed and making new medicinal products widely available has taken much longer than the year originally anticipated. The Medical Cannabis Commission has said there is no hard deadline for when they expect to see all pre-approved companies up and running, and commission members are working closely with the remaining unlicensed businesses to get them through the final approval process.
Joy A. Strand, executive director, said the commission would be hiring additional staff to help with registering patients and providers, as well as additional staff to help with inspections of pre-approved businesses. About 10 new hires will “help move things along” as regulators work to get the industry fully operational, she said.
“We will continue to work one-on-one more aggressively with dispensaries who have failed to make meaningful progress toward final licensure…and provide detailed reports to commissioner so they can understand where we are with those dispensaries,” Strand said during a public commission meeting Tuesday.
There are now 46 dispensaries, 13 processors and 14 growers fully licensed to operate in Maryland, of the 132 total businesses that initially gained pre-approval in 2016. And thanks to a new piece of legislation passed in the General Assembly, 20 additional businesses are set to join the medical marijuana market in the coming months. Business owners looking to get in on the lucrative industry, will be able to apply for seven new cannabis growing licenses and 13 new cannabis processing licenses, pending the bill’s singing by Gov. Larry Hogan.
More than 800 businesses originally applied for dispensary licenses, and now some that didn’t make the first cut will get a second chance.
Check out our interactive map to see where some of the state’s cleared cannabis businesses are located — and which ones are near you. We will continue updating this map as companies receive final approve and their addresses are made public.