And the winner is….technically, no one in Maryland for the moment. But 30 corporate applicants in the ‘Old Line State’ have been awarded preliminary licenses to grow and process marijuana. These businesses, should they satisfy the laundry list of compliance objectives in the next stage of licensing, will be the first to provide medical cannabis to Maryland patients, eager for relief.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), the regulatory body that oversees Maryland’s nascent medical cannabis program, just awarded its first pre-approval for processor and grower licenses on August 15, 2016. But this has not come without delays. Applicants were originally expecting to hear a decision from the Commission by January 2016. Needless to say, these entrepreneurs were anxiously awaiting the Commission’s decision.
This small class of successful applicants will now move on to Stage 2 of the licensing process where they will face numerous regulatory hurdles to ensure their worksite is compliant. For the applicants who were not granted a coveted pre-approval, they face difficult decisions. Not surprisingly, applicants who were rejected are frustrated by the Commission’s lack of transparency surrounding the pre-approval decisions. But exactly where to find recourse is unclear because the Commission’s decisions are intended to be “final” and they neglected to establish an appeals process.