A seasoned health executive has been tapped for the top job at Maryland’s regulatory agency for medical marijuana.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission announced Joy A. Strand as its new executive director today, just as medical weed has finally started to become available to patients after nearly four years of waiting.
Strand most recently served as the CEO of McCready Health, a multi-facility health care system serving patients in Crisfield and other parts of the lower Eastern Shore. She previously was administrator and COO of Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac, Mich., overseeing the facility’s expansion during her five years at the helm.
She was picked earlier this year for the 25th class of Leadership Maryland, a professional development program for business and community leaders.
Strand has more than 40 collective years of experience in health care, according to a release from the agency — a stark contrast to the background of her predecessor, Patrick Jameson, a former state trooper of 12 years-turned-consultant and politician. Jameson stepped down from his executive director post in November, 18 months after Gov. Larry Hogan appointed him. He was the second executive director to resign in as many years.
Commission Chairman Brian P. Lopez highlighted Strand’s relevant career history in a statement: “With her successive roles in healthcare leadership, she has extensive experience helping to identify the pieces and professionals needed to strengthen patient-focused systems, in addition to working well with the business community.”
Strand joins at an exciting time for the commission, which has gradually been approving full licenses for the state’s dispensaries, growers and processors throughout the year. So far the agency has licensed 14 growers (one was denied), 12 processors and 10 of 102 planned dispensaries spread throughout Maryland, according to its website.
Baltimore City is set to get 11 dispensaries, though none have received full operating licenses just yet. The Washington Post reports two of the 10 fully licensed dispensaries, located in Rockville and Cumberland, plan to open their doors to patients today. Other dispensaries are just receiving their inventory to begin serving patients, the commission said in a release.
Maryland enacted its medical cannabis law 44 months ago.
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