Medical marijuana coming to Maryland this summer
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.
A marijuana processing plant has been considered for this site at 152 Comet Drive, Centreville.