Maryland’s medical pot commission has now granted preliminary approval to 102 dispensaries to sell medically prescribed marijuana. Officials on Friday released the names of all those selected for preliminary licenses, and nearly a dozen of them are in Baltimore City.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission agreed to grant up to two dispensary licenses per legislative district, though that cap didn’t include dispensary licenses also awarded to pre-licensed growers or processors. Six senatorial districts have Baltimore City in their borders, though one of them, District 44, straddles land in Baltimore City and County. The way it worked out, Baltimore City has 11 pre-licensed dispensaries set to open. Here are their names, by district:
Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute LLC
WadeWomen LLC-Dr. Dot’s
H&G Maryland LLC
Blair Wellness Center
Medical Products and Services Inc.
Charm City Relief Partners LLC
Pure Life Medical Inc.
Doctor’s Order Maryland*
*Also a pre-licensed grower.
It’s noteworthy that the commission granted only one license in District 41, which is concentrated in Northwest and far West Baltimore, but gave out a total of three licenses in District 46 in Southeast Baltimore, since a marijuana grower called “Doctors Orders LLC” set to open there also received a dispensary license. Doctors Orders happens to be tied to Del. Dan Morhaim, who is facing a legislative ethics hearing due to previously having not divulged he is listed as the business’ clinical director to his legislative colleagues.
Nine other growers around the state also received preliminary approval to run their own dispensaries.
Even though the commission has now announced its picks for dispensaries, it’s tough to guess when they will actually be up and selling any weed. In its announcement, the commission said the dispensaries have exactly one year to “implement their operations.” However, with three companies now suing the commission for skipping over them – two arguing they were unjustly skipped over for purposes of geographic diversity, one arguing the commission ignored racial diversity in its picks – that seems increasingly unlikely.
Black lawmakers have also said they want the commission to rethink its picks to more accurately represent the state’s diverse population, which has led the commission to seek guidance from a diversity consultant. Until all of that litigation and other work is complete, none of the 102 dispensaries or the growers and processors announced earlier this year can obtain their full licenses.
At least with pre-approval out of the way, the state can to work on the second phase of licensing, which includes conducting criminal background investigations and compliance inspections. With that level of scrutiny in mind, officials have high hopes for the dispensaries across the state.
“These qualified entities will be on the front line providing medical cannabis to qualified patients in Maryland,” said commission Chairman Paul W. Davies in a statement. “They will have a tremendous responsibility in serving the legitimate needs of those patients that seek medical treatment.”