Hippocratic Growth talks about medical marijuana
CHESTERTOWN — Hippocratic Growth LLC held an informative meeting Feb. 22 at the Imperial Hotel in Chestertown providing attendees with a brief overview of the history of medical marijuana and how a dispensary might work.
The meeting was hosted by Chief Executive Officer Ashley Herr, Chief Operating Officer Paige Colen, Dr. Jaime Fleetwood and attorney Steve Meehan. About 20 people attended the meeting.
Hippocratic Growth is one of 102 companies approved to dispense medical marijuana within Maryland. The company, which is based out of the Hotel Imperial, is in the process of deciding where the dispensary will be located.
Herr said they want to set up the dispensary on Kent Island so it can be reached by the most people, but they are looking into other locations in Elkton and Bel Air.
Though their ideal location would be in Grasonville, Queen Anne’s County is considering changing its zoning preventing a dispensary at the site Hippocratic Growth is considering. Hippocratic Growth is suing the county in federal court.
Meehan said they would not answer questions on where the dispensary will be located during the meeting. He said where the dispensary will be located is a matter of litigation, and they will let it play out in the courts.
In the meantime, Hippocratic Growth will be presenting a series of informative talks around the Upper Shore. The first session gave an overview of the history and uses of medical marijuana before opening the meeting up to the audience for questions.
Herr said the series will continue with a more indepth look at the patient registration process and provide more information on dispensaries. The next meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. March 18 at the Fisherman’s Inn in Grasonville.
Herr began the meeting by giving a brief history of marijuana’s cultivation dating back to ancient Egypt and China.
Colen went into more detail of marijuana’s uses in the United States and how it developed a stigma against its use as a form of medicine.
The majority of the meeting was conducted by Fleetwood, the pharmacist for Hippocratic Growth. She explained the medical benefits, side effects and chemical components that make up marijuana for the audience.
The drug’s ability to increase appetite, ease pain, reduce anxiety and depression were some of the benefits Fleetwood highlighted.
Medical marijuana as opposed to the use of opioids to treat pain was another important positive, Fleetwood explained. Because the receptor in the brain for marijuana is not located on the brain stem, users cannot overdose the way they might while using opioids.
Additionally marijuana does not react with the same chemical receptors and cannot cause respiratory function to shut down, which is a major cause of death in opioid users, Fleetwood said.
Fleetwood said medical marijuana can be viewed as a vitamin or supplement in the body to treat a deficiency.
Following the presentation, Hippocratic Growth opened the floor to questions from the audience.
The majority of the audience was open to the idea of medical marijuana. Some in the crowd sought more information on how to get it.
One audience member stated she is tired of living with chronic pain and would like to have her doctor prescribe it for her.
Herr said the process begins with doctor enrollment. The patient must also enroll, but medical marijuana enrollment for patients is not open yet in Mar yland.
The doctor then writes a recommendation for medical marijuana, which the patient will take to a dispensary. There, the patient will speak with patient advisors, such as Fleetwood, who will work with them to find the right fit, Colen said. Patient advisors must be a doctor, pharmacist or physician assistant.
“Doctors are not taught this in medical school,” Fleetwood said.
The patient advisor will work closely with patients to find what type of medical marijuana will ease their pain.
“It really is individualized medicine,” Fleetwood said.
Herr said the company is available to answer questions about medical marijuana.
CENTREVILLE — Controversial plans to locate a medical marijuana dispensary in Grasonville will, in part, be the subject of a public hearing the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners will have at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28, at the county building at 107 North Liberty Street, Centreville.
In general, the public hearing was set by the commissioners for public comment on proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance, which regulate where marijuana growing, processing and dispensaries can be located in the county.
The most controversial has been plan by the company Hippocratic Growth to locate a marijuana dispensary at 101 Drummer Drive, Grasonville.
If those zoning amendments are approved, Hippocratic Growth won’t be able to establish that dispensary because, according to the regulations, it comes too close to private residences.
As for growing marijuana, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission hasn’t approved the growing for Queen Anne’s County.
The commission has preapproved marijuana processing in the county, but the company, Chesapeake Alternatives, plans to locate it within the town limits of Centreville, meaning the county has no jurisdiction.
As proposed, the zoning amendments impose restrictions on the locations of medical marijuana dispensaries. A dispensary can’t abut a property with a residential use, must be located at least 1,000 feet from any public or private church, daycare, school, or correctional facility.
Additionally, a dispensary must be located on property at least 100 feet away from any residential dwelling, be located more than 2,500 feet from another dispensary, and can’t have an on-site doctor for the purpose of issuing written certifications for medical marijuana.
The regulations allow the marijuana facilities as a conditional use on properties in certain zoning districts as follows:
• A marijuana dispensary is allowed in the Grasonville gateway and medical center district, but with restrictions.
• Growing marijuana is allowed in the agricultural zoning district, but the use can’t be located within 1,000 feet of any institutional use. If proposed in the critical area, the classification of the property will be intensely developed area.
• Marijuana processing is allowed in the suburban commercial district and the suburban industrial district, but it can’t be 1,000 feet of any institutional use. If proposed in the critical area, the classification of the property will be intensely developed area.
• Marijuana processing is allowed in the light industrial highway service district and suburban industrial business employment district, but with restrictions.
• In the urban commercial district, a marijuana dispensary and processing is allowed, but with restrictions.
• In general, a marijuana grower must be located on a property that’s at least 20 acres or more, must not be located within 1,000 feet of any public or private daycare or school. If proposed in the critical area, the classification will be intensely developed area.
Ashley Herr, CEO of Hippocratic Growth LLC, presents information on marijuana during an informative session Feb. 22 at the Hotel Imperial in Chestertown. Hippocratic Growth seeks to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Grasonville.