The process of allowing access to medicinal marijuana in Maryland is slowly moving forward. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission accepted applications for licenses for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries up until November 6, 2015. Although you should have already submitted your application if you are interested in growing marijuana , you may still have questions about cultivation licenses. Consider seeking legal counseling to find out about all the latest updates.
Application and License Fees
All individuals and entities interested in growing marijuana in Maryland should have submitted the required fees along with their applications. The first stage application fee for a prospective marijuana grower is $2,000. All application fees are non-refundable and must be remitted in the form of a money order or cashier’s check.
Amendments to Submitted Applications
For the most part, it is not possible to amend a cultivation license application that you have already submitted. You may only update information regarding managers, owners, and similar individuals and entities as specified by the Commission’s regulations.
Application Approval Process
Medical cannabis regulation in Maryland provides for the approval of a maximum of 15 cultivators’ licenses. It is left to the discretion of the Commission whether to issue fewer than 15 licenses. Now that the submission deadline has passed, an independent review team is already evaluating applications. The team will rank the applications and send the ranking along with a report to the Commission. Then, the Commission will vote on pre-approving the applications.
If your application has been pre-approved, it does not mean that you have a cultivator’s license. You must still obtain zoning and planning approval, begin construction on the location, hire staff, and initiate training procedures. Once your facility is complete, it must pass an inspection. The Commission will also determine whether your facility and production process fulfill the terms of your application and the legal regulations. If so, you may be granted a license to grow medicinal marijuana. You must still take steps to ensure that your cannabis business remains in compliance with all regulations. Otherwise, your license may be rescinded.
A successful business in the medical cannabis industry requires an exhaustive planning process. The most effective way to plan for long-term success is to seek legal counseling in Maryland. Meet with attorneys who provide consulting services to legal marijuana businesses to find out what you need to do to obtain all the necessary permits and licenses. After your medical cannabis service opens its doors for business, you’ll still need ongoing legal guidance, since cannabis regulations continue to evolve.
When setting up your business, it’s important to know where your strengths lie. If you have a background in horticulture and a green thumb, then you may do well as a grower. If you prefer to be on the front end of the business, you can open a dispensary. Regardless of your choice, you need to have a plan for building a loyal clientele. It is not wise to assume that the popularity of medical marijuana will translate to an automatic customer base. Like any other business, you will have competitors in the medical cannabis industry. To reach your long-term objectives, you’ll need to develop strategies for brand formation, customer care, and customer retention.
Since the passage of medical cannabis regulation in Maryland, many patients with severe medical conditions have looked forward to being able to control their symptoms with legally obtained medical cannabis. However, regulations regarding medical cannabis continue to evolve and local jurisdictions are still hammering out the details. Medicinal marijuana is not yet available in the state and as of November 2015, the timeline for availability has not yet been finalized. However, if you intend to obtain medical marijuana, it’s a good idea to begin learning about the process.
Do I Have a Qualifying Medical Condition?
Only the prescribing physician can determine this. Generally, qualifying medical conditions are those that are severe and have not responded well to other treatments. Additionally, your medical condition must be reasonably expected to benefit from medicinal marijuana. These qualifying conditions include those that are chronic or debilitating, including glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Qualifying conditions also include those that cause the following problems: Significant loss of appetite, wasting, severe nausea, seizures, severe or chronic pain, or persistent muscle spasms.
Can My Primary Care Physician Issue a Medical Cannabis Card?
Any physician may become qualified to issue a medical cannabis card; it is not necessary to go to a special clinic for an evaluation. You can ask a primary care physician or specialist to register with the Medical Cannabis Commission . Doctors can register if they are licensed in Maryland.
What Is the Process for Legally Obtaining Access?
First, you should talk to your doctor to determine whether medical marijuana might help your medical condition. Then, you can register as a patient on the website of the Medical Cannabis Commission. You will need to upload an image of a valid government ID. After you’ve registered, a registered doctor can provide a written certification, which the doctor will record on the Commission’s website. In order to provide patients with a written certification, there must be a bona fide doctor-patient relationship. This means that the prescribing doctor must have examined you, assessed your medical history and medical records, and provided for any necessary follow-up care.
Marijuana laws in Maryland have evolved over the last few years, with the state becoming the 21 st in the nation to have a medical marijuana program. In the past, medical marijuana users could prove medical necessity to prevent being convicted for possession of an ounce or less. However, access to medical marijuana was still not addressed. In 2014, then-Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill into law that replaced criminal penalties with civil fines for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. Changes are once again afoot in Maryland, with current laws stating that individuals no longer need to be part of a medical research program to have access to medical marijuana, and can possess a 30-day supply. Check out this infographic to learn more about cannabis laws in Maryland. Please share with your friends and family.
Cannabis laws in Maryland have undergone a significant overhaul in recent years. The legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes raises new questions for local officials. In Baltimore County, officials decided to take a proactive approach toward marijuana legalization . Councilwoman Vicki Almond of Baltimore County recently spearheaded the effort to implement zoning regulations for medical cannabis.
You can hear about this new legal marijuana regulation by watching this brief news clip. You’ll hear Councilwoman Almond discuss why she thought zoning would be a good idea for growers, manufacturers, and dispensary owners, along with their neighbors. You’ll also learn about the new zoning requirements, including how the potential locations for growing and manufacturing facilities will differ from the acceptable locations for dispensaries.
Attitudes toward marijuana legalization have been changing slowly but surely in the U.S. The advent of legal marijuana in states such as Colorado has helped lawmakers and activists around the country point to significant benefits for the economy and for patients with chronic medical conditions. While Maryland is one of the latest states to approve the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes, the regulations and requirements continue to evolve. Entrepreneurs who are thinking of opening dispensaries in the state would be well advised to seek legal counseling in Maryland.
Long Road to Legalization
Officially, Maryland actually legalized medicinal cannabis in 2013. However, the law was so restrictive that patients were unable to make use of the program. The initial law restricted the dispensing of cannabis to select academic medical centers, or teaching hospitals such as Johns Hopkins University. However, there were no teaching hospitals within the state that were willing to enact such a program. The movement toward marijuana legalization benefited from a complete overhaul of the initial law in 2014. Additional follow-up laws were passed in 2015. However, many prospective cannabis dispensary owners are still waiting for licenses to open up shop.
Mixed Reactions from County Governments
The prospect of having medicinal marijuana dispensaries within their jurisdictions has been cause for concern for some county officials. County Executive Steve Schuh (R) of Anne Arundel County is notable for his extreme reaction to the legalization of cannabis dispensaries. He has proposed a complete ban on both manufacturing facilities and cannabis dispensaries within the jurisdiction. Other county officials; however, including some of Schuh’s fellow Republicans, have welcomed the influx of jobs that dispensaries could bring to their areas. And the Maryland Attorney General’s office recently sent an advisory letter to the state legislature informing lawmakers that counties cannot ban legal businesses , absent special circumstances. If Maryland Senator Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) has his way, lawmakers might pass a new law that bans local governments from interfering with patients’ right to access medical marijuana dispensaries. Regardless, by the end of 2016, patients should be able to purchase legal cannabis from 94 dispensaries in Maryland.
If you’re a practicing physician in Maryland, you may have had some patients ask you about medical cannabis and whether you can prescribe it. Since marijuana laws in Maryland are strict regarding which patients can legally use medicinal marijuana, the best way to protect yourself from liability is to consult attorneys who have experience with cannabis laws. If you would like to prescribe medical cannabis, you must first meet the eligibility requirements. You must be licensed to practice medicine in the state of Maryland and you must submit a proposal for each individual patient who wishes to receive medical cannabis.
The proposal you’ll send to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission must describe the patient’s qualifying medical condition. Qualifying medical conditions include chronic conditions that result in severe symptoms, such as seizures and significant pain. The proposal must also describe how medical cannabis could help the patient, how you plan to screen the patient for drug dependency, and what your plans are for follow-up care.
As you might expect, the process to obtain a medical cannabis dispensary license in Maryland is quite complex. Since the state will be allowing a limited number of dispensary licenses, it’s in your best interests as a prospective cannabis business owner to seek legal counseling in Maryland before submitting your application. Attorneys can advise you of relevant compliance issues and make sure that your application is in order with all necessary supporting documents.
Prospective cannabis dispensary owners can expect to fill out a lengthy application. It requires basic information such as the legal name of the entity and the identifying information for each principal officer. Bear in mind that no applicant or principal officer may apply for a Maryland license if he or she has previously served as a principal officer in a dispensary that has had a revoked registration certificate. One large section of the application requires you to check off boxes to demonstrate that you acknowledge various requirements and that you agree with them. Then, you can expect to answer in-depth questions about your proposed medicinal marijuana dispensary, such as how you plan to minimize any negative impact to the surrounding community and how you will train all dispensary agents in detecting and preventing the diversion of medicinal marijuana. Other examples of required information are:
- How you plan to educate dispensary agents every 12 months regarding the latest medicinal marijuana information
- How the premises will be constructed to prevent unauthorized entry
- How the secure room within the dispensary will be constructed
- How you will maintain surveillance and security systems
These are just a few of the many questions you can expect to answer. It’s highly advisable to consult an attorney in Maryland to ensure that your application package is in order before submitting it.
If you are able to obtain a medicinal marijuana dispensary license, you will be required to pay an annual licensing fee of $40,000 for every year that you are in business. Combined grower/dispensary operators are required to pay higher fees.
The body of research on medical marijuana continues to grow as more states take steps toward implementing marijuana legalization. If you’re considering forming a business for medical cannabis in Rockville, it’s worth your time to explore the clinical studies and learn about the potential health benefits of the drug.
Marijuana has long been touted as a drug that can help ease nausea and vomiting among patients undergoing chemotherapy. This not only improves quality of life for these patients, but it also bolsters their ability to maintain their weight during the treatment. Recently, however, researchers have been focusing their efforts on the use of medical marijuana as an anti-cancer drug, rather than just a medication to alleviate side effects. It has been discovered that cannabis may help stop cancerous tumors from growing by interfering with the expression of a gene that cancer cells need to spread. Researchers conducting similar studies have concluded that cannabis may even induce cancer cell death.
Many patients have consulted an attorney about cannabis laws because they’re interested in using medical marijuana to control seizure disorders. For years, researchers have known that cannabinoids attach to certain receptors in the brain, which results in the reduction of seizure episodes in epilepsy patients. Cannabis is also known to manage the symptoms of Dravet’s syndrome, which causes developmental delays along with seizures.
Some opponents of medical marijuana argue against legalization laws because they believe it will only result in increasing cases of lung problems. In fact, research demonstrates that the opposite effect occurs. One study found that although people who smoke cigarettes have a decrease in lung capacity, those who smoke marijuana have an increase in lung capacity over time.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders. Although there are medications available to treat it, these can be habit-forming and they may cause adverse side effects. Medical marijuana may be one option for people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and other anxiety disorders.
To obtain cannabis in Rockville , you will need a medical marijuana prescription and card. Your first step is to make sure you thoroughly understand your state’s marijuana legalization laws. Consider contacting our office of experienced attorneys to discuss the new medical cannabis laws in your state . Next, you’ll need to talk to your doctor. Before you can obtain marijuana legally, a physician must determine that the drug will help your qualifying medical condition. Then, he or she can provide you with a prescription for medical marijuana.
To hear about the next steps in the process, watch this video . You’ll hear about the documentation that you may need to obtain and the application you’ll fill out. This video reminds viewers to submit any required fees along with the application and to use medical marijuana cards in compliance with state and local laws.