Panel names med­i­cal pot dis­pen­sary fi­nal­ists

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO -

The names of 102 fi­nal­ists on the path to be li­censed to open med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries in Mary­land were made pub­lic Fri­day by the Mary­land Med­i­cal Cannabis Com­mis­sion.

There were 811 ap­pli­ca­tions for up to 109 pos­si­ble li­censes. Last week, the com­mis­sion gave ini­tial ap­proval to 102 dis­pen­saries in a blind ap­pli­ca­tion re­view that had ap­pli­cant names and lo­ca­tions redacted.

Each of Mary­land’s 47 state Se­nate dis­tricts can have up to two dis­pen­saries, and all but two dis­tricts have two ap­pli­cants named as fi­nal­ists. The two dis­tricts with only one fi­nal­ist are District 2 in Washington County and District 41 in Bal­ti­more city.

Mary­land’s med­i­cal mar­i­juana ini­tia­tive has been be­dev­iled by set­backs. The state ap­proved its first med­i­cal mar­i­juana law in 2013. The ef­fort stalled, how­ever, be­cause it re­quired aca­demic med­i­cal cen­ters to run the pro­grams, and none stepped for­ward.

The law was changed in 2014 to al­low doc­tors cer­ti­fied by the com­mis­sion to rec­om­mend mar­i­juana for pa­tients with de­bil­i­tat­ing, chronic and se­vere ill­nesses.

The reg­u­la­tory process also has been mired in con­tro­versy this year. Three com­pa­nies are su­ing the com­mis­sion over the li­cens­ing process for up to 15 grow­ers.

Al­ter­na­tive Medicine Mary­land, which did not re­ceive ini­tial ap­proval to be­come a mar­i­juana grower, is al­leg­ing that the com­mis­sion wrongly ig­nored racial di­ver­sity in the li­cens­ing process. The com­pany is one of the fi­nal­ists for a dis­pen­sary.

Two other com­pa­nies, GTI Mary­land and Mary­land Cul­ti­va­tion and Pro­cess­ing, are su­ing be­cause they were bumped out of the top 15 com­pa­nies to be­come fi­nal­ists as grow­ers, as the com­mis­sion sought to in­clude geo­graphic di­ver­sity among the fi­nal­ists.

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