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Medical Cannabis Scammers Preying On Maryland Residents

It’s still a few months before a medical cannabis program is up and running in Maryland, USA; but scammers are busy attempting to fleece prospective patients.

The Baltimore Sun reports scams include bogus pre-approval for the program and fake marijuana card offers that prey on desperate people wanting to access cannabis medicines.

At this point, The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has only issued preliminary (Stage One) licenses for companies to cultivate, process and dispense cannabis. These companies are still working through Stage Two of the licensing process.

Patient identification cards are certainly not being issued at this point and no “pre-approval” is available. Patient ID cards will only be made available through the official Patient Registry, which will open during the first quarter of 2017.

While the physician registry is already open, doctors are yet to be able to issue certifications for marijuana medicines.

“While progress is being made, there is no legal medical cannabis available to patients in Maryland,” says the Commission.

Earlier this month, Commission announced the names of 102 dispensary applicants  awarded Stage One license pre-approvals. These entities will now move on to Stage Two of the approval process, which will be an exhaustive due diligence exercise by the Commission. Applicants will also need to demonstrate they can meet regulatory requirements, raise sufficient capital and secure appropriate zoning approvals.

Competition for the Stage One licenses was fierce – there were a total of 811 applications submitted for up to 109 available licenses statewide.

“The Commission will tightly regulate these dispensaries and looks forward to a productive working relationship with their management and staff,” said the Commission’s Executive Director, Patrick Jameson.

Maryland’s program will enable access to cannabis medicines prepared for vaping, lotions, ointments, tinctures and some extracts that can be added to food. Marijuana products for smoking and edibles will not permitted.

The program is quite broad in terms of qualifying conditions – “any condition that is severe, for which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and if the symptoms “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” by the medical use of Cannabis.”

Maryland’s scheme was signed into law in 2014 – so for those wanting to register as patients, it has been a very long wait.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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