Despite its increased acceptance, medical marijuana is still a hot-button topic. Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, including Maryland. Starting next year, licenses will begin to be issued to medical marijuana growers and dispensers in Maryland. Learn more about this upcoming medical marijuana development in this week’s blog.
What to Know About Medical Marijuana In Maryland
The rules governing medical marijuana have been developed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission and include such stipulations as requiring growers and dispensers to possess special licenses and requiring doctors to register in order to write referrals for marijuana. Under the new regulations, smokeable and liquid forms of cannabis will be permitted but edible forms will be not be allowed in Maryland.
The rules set the costs at necessary licenses at $125,000 for 2 years for growers and $40,000 for dispensaries. Illinois is the only state with higher licensing fees, which are in place to ensure the program is self-sufficient as required by federal law.
Beginning as early as the end of this month, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission could begin accepting applications for 15 licenses to grow the drug, unlimited licenses for processors, and licenses for 2 marijuana dispensaries per senatorial district.
Anyone approved would be given preliminary approval and up to one year to create and oversee a law-abiding operation. Each operation is individually responsible for acquiring real estate, navigate local zoning approvals, build their facility, install equipment, and hire and train all staff.
Zoning is a particularly contentious issue that Maryland is continuing to grapple with. So far Baltimore County is the only jurisdiction to proactively navigate zoning regulations. Medical marijuana processing facilities will be allowed in industrial districts (with one exception for the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone in the eastern part of the county) as well as in rural agricultural zones.
Unlike most states, in Maryland any doctor who wishes to write referrals for the drug will be required to register in order to do so. The state plans to provide an online training course for doctors regarding the benefits, risks, and effects of marijuana.
Despite the legalization of medical marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana is still a criminal offense as is possession of the drug without a proper prescription.
Bruce Robinson & Associates
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