Med­i­cal mar­i­juana com­ing to Mary­land this sum­mer

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

GRA­SONVILLE — Med­i­cal mar­i­juana is ex­pected to be avail­able to pa­tients some­time late this sum­mer in Mary­land, said Vanessa Lyon, spokes­woman for the Mary­land Med­i­cal Cannabis Com­mis­sion, on Fri­day, Jan. 20.

The spokesman ac­knowl­edged that maybe only some places in Mary­land will have the dis­pen­saries open in that time frame, not nec­es­sar­ily one in Queen Anne’s County by that time.

Doc­tors can cur­rently sign up on that com­mis­sion’s web­site to write the pre­scrip­tions for pa­tients, ac­cord­ing to that com­mis­sion’s web­site. Pa­tients have to reg­is­ter on the site, too, and the com­mis­sion ex­pects that to be al­lowed in the first quar­ter of this year.

The mar­i­juana com­mis­sion has set a one-year dead­line for the mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries to open and that year started to elapse on Dec. 9 of last year, said the com­mis­sion spokes­woman.

No pa­tient iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards are be­ing is­sued at this time. The only valid ID cards will be is­sued by the com­mis­sion. In­sur­ance doesn’t pay for med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

Al­ready, two com­pa­nies have ex­pressed an in­ter­est in lo­cat­ing mar­i­juana op­er­a­tions in Queen Anne’s County. One is a pro­posed dis­pen­sary in an empty build­ing, for­merly a food mart, at 101 Drum­mer Drive, Gra­sonville, right off U.S. 50/301.

The other com­pany, Ch­e­sa­peake Al­ter­na­tives, is con­sid­er­ing lo­cat­ing a med­i­cal pro­cess­ing plant in a ware­house at 152 Comet Drive in the Cen­tre­ville Busi­ness Park within town lim­its. Pre­vi­ously, the mar­i­juana com­mis­sion gave pre-ap­proval for the com­pany to op­er­ate a pro­cess­ing plant in Queen Anne’s County.

The name of the com­pany, in­ter­ested in the dis­pen­sary in Gra­sonville, was pre­vi­ously not pub­licly iden­ti­fied. But on Fri­day, Jan. 20, County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gregg Todd said that com­pany’s name is Hip­po­cratic Growth, and the med­i­cal mar­i­juana com­mis­sion re­leased doc­u­ments, which show that the com­pany, based in Ch­ester­town, is pre-ap­proved for a dis­pen­sary for Se­na­to­rial Dis­trict 36.

An­other com­pany, called Phar­mKent with an ad­dress in Ch­ester­town, has also been pre-ap­proved for a dis­pen­sary in Se­na­to­rial Dis­trict 36.

Phone calls to Phar­mKent weren’t re­turned. Hip­po­cratic Growth de­clined to com­ment.

It’s con­ceiv­able a dis­pen­sary will not be lo­cated in Queen Anne’s County be­cause the mar­i­juana com­mis­sion ap­proved those com­pa­nies to lo­cate in Se­na­to­rial Dis­trict 36, which in­cludes Queen Anne’s County, but also Caro­line, Ce­cil and Kent coun­ties.

The pro­posed dis­pen­sary in Gra­sonville has al­ready trig­gered op­po­si­tion. When the lo­ca­tion was made pub­lic, many peo­ple took to so­cial me­dia to con­demn it and some county com­mis­sion­ers have voiced op­po­si­tion, par­tic­u­larly since the site is so close to homes.

The County Com­mis­sion­ers will hold a spe­cial pub­lic meet­ing start­ing at 6 p.m. on Tues­day, Jan. 31, in the county of­fice build­ing at 107 North Lib­erty Street, Cen­tre­ville, to dis­cuss pro­posed amend­ments to the zon­ing or­di­nance about the lo­ca­tions of the mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries and pro­cess­ing plants in Queen Anne’s County.

County Com­mis­sioner Robert Buckey is plan­ning a town hall meet­ing on the sub­ject later, but no date has been set.

A grower of mar­i­juana hasn’t been ap­proved by the mar­i­juana com­mis­sion to lo­cate in Queen Anne’s County.

All the pre-ap­proved dis­pen­sary, pro­cess­ing and grower com­pa­nies will con­tinue to stage two of the ap­proval process by the mar­i­juana com­mis­sion, said a state­ment from the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

No ac­tual fi­nal li­censes to grow, process or dis­pense med­i­cal cannabis have been is­sued. The pre-ap­proved en­ti­ties are cur­rently work­ing through stage two of the li­cens­ing process, which in­cludes ex­ten­sive back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tions and reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments.

The mar­i­juana com­mis­sion­ers will vote for li­cen­sure in a pub­lic meet­ing once com­pli­ance with the reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ment is com­plete, the mar­i­juana com­mis­sion said.

A date for that meet­ing hasn’t been an­nounced.

PHOTO BY CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

A mar­i­juana pro­cess­ing plant has been con­sid­ered for this site at 152 Comet Drive, Cen­tre­ville.

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