Cecil company gets license to grow medical marijuana
BEL AIR — SunMed Growers, a Warwick-based medical cannabis grower, officially received its full license to grow medical cannabis during an Aug. 28 meeting of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
By receiving the license, SunMed becomes the ninth licensed grower in the state. Two other growers, Grow West of Garrett County and Shore Natural RX of Wicomico County, also were licensed during the meeting.
The SunMed Growers facility includes a 60,000-square-foot, glasstopped greenhouse and an 18,000-square-foot steel building that features office space for 40 employees, a locker room, a cafeteria and a storage facility.
While he only anticipates having 15 employees and the existing greenhouse at the onset, Jacob Van Wingerden, chief officer of SunMed Growers, said the building has enough office space to hire more employees, and the property has ample space to build additional greenhouse space later on, if demand warrants expansion.
The first company to receive its full license to grow medical cannabis was Forward Gro, an Anne Arundel County grower. Eight others received licenses at the deadline to be operational, which was Aug. 15.
SunMed received its inspection on the day of the deadline, so the paperwork could not be processed in time. However, during the meeting, commission officials said that SunMed’s facility was fully compliant with local and state laws and completely consistent with the terms of its application.
Inspectors found no factors that would prohibit licensure. Thus, the commission recommended approval.
Calling the approval a “formality” before the meeting, Van Wingerden said he was confident the company would be fully licensed.
After the meeting, he told his team, “We’ve got to get to work tomorrow.”
“It’s full steam ahead,” he said.
Weeks ago, uncertainty surrounded the state’s medical cannabis industry due to potential legal battles. Alleging that the commission did not fairly consider minority-owned growers and processors, a group of minority-owned businesses took legal action against the commission.
Following that lawsuit, the commission argued that its process was fair, explaining that companies were evaluated solely on the merits of their applications, with personal information redacted.
Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams, froze the process for 10 days, a motion that was later blocked by the Maryland Court of Appeals. Since then, the process has continued without delay.
Van Wingerden said he doesn’t foresee these legal battles threatening his license in the future.
“The legal battles were a huge roadblock, but I think we’re past that,” he said. “What my lawyers have told me is we now have a vested property right, and that cannot be taken away from me without due process.”
With the license in hand, Van Wingerden said the company will get to work quickly.
“We’ll have the first plants in the ground in the next 30 days,” he said. “There’s a process now we have to go through with the commission to register our employees, and get ready to fall in line with their tracking system, and getting all those steps going.”
Cannabis matures in roughly four months, so SunMed’s first batch will be ready in December or Januar y.
SunMed Growers President Jake Van Wingerden looks on as the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission makes its recommendation on licensing his company to grow medical cannabis.