The man in charge of leading the state’s regulatory cannabis agency is stepping down at the end of November.
Patrick Jameson’s last day as executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will be Nov. 30, according to an announcement. Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Jameson to his post 18 months ago.
“It has been an honor to help sick people and launch a new lucrative industry in
Maryland,” Jameson said in a statement Thursday. “The time has come for me to pursue other interests. I wish the Commission well.”
A former state trooper of 12 years, he was an interesting choice for a role entrusted with getting Maryland’s cannabis industry up and running. Jameson ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County sheriff in 2010, including a goal to eliminate drugs in his platform. He also applied to run for Anne Arundel County Executive in 2013, after John Leopold resigned upon being convicted of misconduct in office.
In addition to serving in law enforcement, Jameson also worked as director of homeland security for Oracle and ran his own management consulting firm.
He presided over the commission during a crucial period in which it pre-approved 102 dispensaries and 15 growers and processors apiece. During his tenure, the agency has weathered allegations of discrimination in its picks for growers – none of the companies picked to grow marijuana in Maryland are African-American-owned – as well as related lawsuits and delays.
Black lawmakers have also pushed for the commission to reform its process for picking businesses, or to license additional ones to create more minority representation.
Many have criticized the commission’s fraught rollout of medical cannabis. Forty-three months have now passed since Maryland enacted its medical cannabis law, a national record. Meanwhile, more than 15,000 people (as of Thursday, according to new figures supplied by the commission) have registered to receive prescribed cannabis.
“We appreciate the work and effort Patrick has put forth during his time with the Commission,” said commission chair Brian Lopez in a statement. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Jake Van Wingerden, executive director of the Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Trade Association, also wished Jameson well.
“Our members are committed to getting medical cannabis into the hands of patients as quickly as possible, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Commission and Chairman Brian Lopez to establish this important medical program in Maryland,” he said in a statement.
The cannabis commission says it has started a search for his replacement. Jameson will help with a transition plan over the next several weeks. “Daily operations of the Commission will continue as normal,” the agency said in a release.
As of Nov. 9, 14 growers, 12 processors and six dispensaries have received full operating licenses from the commission.
Assuming all of their applications are in order, Baltimore will have 11 operational dispensaries. At least one operator says she expects to open in the first quarter of 2018.
This story has been updated.
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