Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington was approved, the cannabusiness industry has been booming and is expected to continue its rapid expansion. However, unlike Colorado, cannabusiness owners and regulators in Washington have been moving more slowly and cautiously. They want to make sure that they cover all the bases before opening the floodgates to this industry and cannabusiness owners in Maryland can take a page out of their book.
Be a Good Neighbor
Maryland cannabusiness owners will have to deal with the stigma that comes from peddling a previously illegal drug. In all likelihood, not all businesses will welcome having marijuana dispensaries on their block. It’s essential that cannabusiness entrepreneurs learn how to be good neighbors, in part by cultivating the right image for their company. Entrepreneurs can present themselves as professionals, rather than mimicking a frat house mentality.
Send the Right Message with Interior Design
Cannabusiness entrepreneurs in Washington are learning that it pays to consult an interior designer when setting up shop. Creating a positive ambience within the dispensary is critical for helping customers feel welcome. This is particularly true for customers who are a bit nervous about trying marijuana for the first time. In practical terms, this may mean avoiding the temptation to hang Bob Marley posters on the walls and instead arranging the interior much like any other retail shop.
Partner with a Financial Institution
Marijuana businesses in Colorado and Washington have already run across several major stumbling blocks, one of which involves banking. Until recently, federal regulations stated that financial institutions and their employees could face lengthy prison sentences for dealing with cannabusinesses because marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Although federal regulations have now changed to allow financial institutions to deal with cannabusinesses that are legal under state law, it’s still a touchy subject for banks and credit unions. They may be hesitant to work with marijuana entrepreneurs. This means it’s essential for cannabusiness owners to form a strong partnership with a financial institution.
To take advantage of rapidly evolving Maryland marijuana laws and the expanding climate of acceptance regarding cannabis , prospective cannabusiness owners need to spend plenty of time planning how to get a foothold in this burgeoning industry. A medical marijuana lawyer can help new owners of marijuana dispensaries and other cannabusinesses make critical decisions regarding the formation of their new entities. First, entrepreneurs must decide exactly which type of business they wish to launch. The state will begin approving new growers and dispensaries.
Once entrepreneurs have chosen the type of cannabusiness they wish to pursue, they must plan the structure of their business. Like any other type of business, cannabusiness entrepreneurs must decide where to locate the place of business, how to obtain the proper licenses, how to remain in compliance with changing laws, how to supply the business, and how to address security concerns. Entrepreneurs will need to determine their business models and decide exactly how to run their companies, such as with a partnership or other entity.
Advocates of medical marijuana say that the drug can help with everything from chronic pain to glaucoma. It may be used to treat seizure disorders, Crohn’s disease, and nausea from chemotherapy. However, while MD marijuana laws now allow the use of medical marijuana, it is still highly regulated. Prospective cannabusiness customers will need to meet strict eligibility requirements and follow a specific procedure in order to obtain a medical marijuana card.
Understand Limitations and Protections
Before prospective patients visit a Maryland cannabusiness, they should fully understand the ramifications of the new medical marijuana laws and how this legislation might affect them. Marijuana laws officially recognized the legal use of medical marijuana in April of 2013 with the
passage of House Bill 881. The bill allows certain patients to legally possess a 30-day supply of the drug. The amount that constitutes a 30-day supply has yet to be determined. The bill allows card-carrying patients and caregivers to be exempt from prosecution for purchasing and possessing medical marijuana , but only if the drug was acquired from a state-licensed dispensary. Patients and caregivers are not allowed to cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes. Additionally, the new marijuana laws do not prohibit civil discrimination of patients and caregivers with regard to employment, housing, child custody, and organ transplants.
Fulfill the Eligibility Criteria
To obtain a medical marijuana card, patients must meet strict guidelines. They must be residents of Maryland and they must be able to provide proof of residency. In addition, they must be able to prove with the use of medical records that they have a qualifying medical condition. Qualifying conditions include chronic or debilitating conditions that result in persistent muscle spasms, severe nausea, severe or chronic pain, seizures, anorexia, wasting syndrome, or cachexia.
Obtain a Written Certification
A written certification from a licensed Maryland physician will enable patients to obtain medical marijuana. However, only physicians who have received a special medical marijuana license may prescribe this drug to patients. Additionally, the law emphasizes that patients are encouraged to develop a long-term relationship with the prescribing physician.