The US state of Maryland’s medical cannabis program was signed into law in 2014; but still isn’t operational. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train.
It appears licenses will finally be awarded to around 15 growers and approximately 15 processors in the state in August.
So what held things up for so long? It seems the program was a victim of its own popularity. Government officials only expected a few hundred applications, but by closing date there were more than 1,100.
Time is money and the screening process has certainly seen a lot of both consumed.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the review of applications has cost the taxpayers of Maryland around USD $2 million — nearly five times the original estimate; which was based on the numbers expected.
Even now the overall screening is far from done. 146 cultivation applications and 124 applications for processors were just about complete last week; but around 800 applications are still pending review for dispensaries. Approximately 94 businesses are expected to be approved for dispensary licenses.
Unfortunately for patients, there will still be quite a wait as under the program they can only obtain legal medical cannabis from Maryland-licensed dispensaries.
Patients will be able to access cannabis products prepared for vaping, as extracts, lotions, ointments, tinctures and some extracts that can be added to food. Smoking and edibles will not be permitted under the program.
Those eligible will be patients suffering any severe condition where other medical treatments have failed and where the symptoms can reasonably expected to be relieved through the use of medical marijuana.
Specific conditions include severe loss of appetite or wasting, chronic pain, nausea, seizures and spasms, glaucoma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Maryland’s program is being overseen by the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Further details can be viewed here.
In February, Arcview estimated medical cannabis sales in Maryland would hit $9.7 million the first year, assuming availability occurs by the middle of next year, and reach $60 million by 2020.