Rachel Rhodes named to Marijuana Commission
ANNAPOLIS — Governor Larry Hogan has announced 10 appointments to the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission, including Queen Anne’s County’s Rachel Rhodes. The commission oversees the development of policies, procedures, and regulations to ensure that medical cannabis is available to qualifying patients. With the initial application phase complete, the commission is focused on the successful implementation of Maryland’s medical cannabis program.
Rachel Rhodes is the horticulture associate agent and master gardener coordinator for the University of Maryland Extension – Queen Anne’s County, where she provides horticultural and environmental education classes. Rhodes received her master’s of environmental science from Wesley College. Rhodes fills the representative of the University of Maryland Extension position on the commission.
Rhodes said, “As the University of Maryland Extension representative on the Natalie M. Laprade Medical Cannabis Commission, I will serve to provide unbiased, researched-based information on horticultural practices.”
She explained the experience she brings to the commission, “University of Maryland Extension is a statewide educational system within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources that supports Maryland’s agricultural industry; protects our valuable natural resources; enhances the well-being of adults, children, and families locally and internationally; and fosters the development of strong, stable communities.”
Other newly appointed members include:
Charles P. LoDico, M.S., F-ABFT, currently a senior chemist/toxicologist for the Department of Health and Human Services. His appointment fills a vacancy for a scientist with experience in the science of cannabis and nominated by a state research institution on the commission.
Barry G. Pope, drug rebate manager and PBM clinical pharmacist for Conduent State Healthcare LLC. Pope was recommended for this appointment by the Maryland Pharmacy Association, and fills a vacancy for a licensed pharmacist in the state on the commission.
Brian P. Lopez, a partner and the executive vice president for Osprey Property Company, where he oversees the company’s multifamily and affordable housing portfolio. Lopez fills a vacancy for a member of the public or a patient who supports medical cannabis position on the commission.
Alvin W. Davis, M.D., a partner at the Cumberland Anesthesia and Pain Management Associates, where he specializes in cardiac/ thoracic anesthesia. Dr. Davis fills one of the three licensed physician positions on the commission.
Jeffrey R. Gahler, Harford County Sheriff. Gahler fills the law enforcement representative position on the commission.
Charles Smith III, Frederick County State’s Attorney, member of the Frederick County Substance Abuse Council and chairman of the State’s Attorneys’ Coordination Council. Smith fills the member of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association position on the commission.
Ehsan Abdeshahian, M.D., staff physician with specialties in pain and sports medicine for Advanced Pain Management Specialists. Abdeshahian fills one of the three licensed physician positions on the commission.
Scott Welsh, owner of Maryland Flower and Foliage, where he maintains 160,000 square feet of greenhouse space and 100,000 square feet of outdoor growing areas. Welsh fills the position of an individual with experience in horticulture and recommended by the Department of Agriculture on the commission.
John T. Gontrum, Esq., assistant comptroller for the Office of the Comptroller of Maryland. Gontrum is being reappointed to the commission for a term starting October 1, 2017, and fills the representative of the Office of the Comptroller position on the commission.
With these appointments, three vacancies were filled and six commission members with expired terms were replaced. The governor’s office said the new appointments double the minority representation on the commission.