Medical cannabis processing facility pre-approved
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.