Med­i­cal cannabis pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity pre-ap­proved

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

Af­ter months and months of wait­ing, the state’s Natalie M. LaPrade Med­i­cal Cannabis Com­mis­sion fi­nally re­leased the names of the pre-ap­proved grower and pro­ces­sor ap­pli­cants for the state’s cannabis pro­gram.

The pre-ap­proved busi­nesses

were se­lected on Aug. 5 but were only pub­licly an­nounced on Mon­day. FGM Pro­cess­ing LLC is the ap­pli­cant se­lected in Charles County. Jes­sica White, the gen­eral man­ager of the com­pany, is based out of Bal­ti­more but ap­plied for a pro­cess­ing li­cense in Charles County.

The county does not have a dis­trib­u­tor as of yet, but there are more ap­provals to come from the com­mis­sion down the road af­ter stage two of the pre-ap­proval process.

Paul Davies, chair­man of the com­mis­sion, said he is ex­cited to have a “great num­ber” of ap­pli­cants who are “will­ing to help sick peo­ple” in the state. The li­censees are a group with di­ver­sity, he said, and many are cor­po­rate of­fi­cers who have pre­vi­ously helped cre­ate es­tab­lished busi­nesses in the state.

Over­all, there are 16 coun­ties with ap­provals from the state for grow­ing and pro­cess­ing. Charles County was not ap­proved for a grow­ing lo­ca­tion along with the pro­cess­ing en­tity, but county Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D) said he hopes to have one even­tu­ally.

“I know that li­censes were lim­ited across the state, but I’m sat­is­fied that we are at least part of the process mov­ing for­ward,” Robin­son said.

The zon­ing process for the fa­cil­ity has al­ready been taken care of. Months prior to the state’s an­nounce­ment of the ap­provals, the county had al­ready ap­proved a zon­ing text amend­ment for med­i­cal cannabis fa­cil­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the county’s zon­ing text amend­ment, both pro­cess­ing and dis­pen­sary fa­cil­i­ties must be 1,000 feet from the prop­erty line of any school, day care fa­cil­ity, re­hab fa­cil­ity and any other process or dis­pen­sary fa­cil­ity.

Pa­trick Jame­son, the com­mis­sion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said the process can move to the next stage now that the stage one se­lec­tions have been an­nounced. Now, he said, “the real work be­gins,” for the com­pa­nies se­lected.

“We will im­ple­ment a rig­or­ous stage two back­ground and fi­nan­cial due dili­gence process for these en­ti­ties prior to is­su­ing a li­cense. A pre-ap­proval is not a li­cense,” Jame­son said.

Af­ter the re­quire­ments are met for the se­lected or­ga­ni­za­tions, grow­ers will be able to cul­ti­vate their dif­fer­ent strains and pro­ces­sors will cre­ate cannabis-in­fused prod­ucts with dif­fer­ent vari­ances of tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol (THC) and cannabid­iol (CBD) in­clud­ing oils, pills and cap­sules.

Robin­son said it is im­por­tant to stress that this is not for recre­ational use, but only for med­i­ca­tion. The county is just com­ply­ing with state law, he said, and try­ing to im­prove the health of its cit­i­zens.

Robin­son said the county is “pretty con­fi­dent” that if FGM Pro­cess­ing can pass the sec­ond stage of ap­provals from the state they will be a rep­utable en­tity in the county and serve the peo­ple here well.

The next step for the county, Robin­son said, would be to get a grower and dis­trib­u­tor in the area as well. There were “sev­eral” ap­pli­cants for all three roles, he said, and hope­fully the county has more to come.

“I’m hop­ing that we ‘pass the test,’ so to speak, of the next phase,” he said.

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