IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE MEDICAL CANNABIS PATIENTS:
While progress is being made, there is NO legal medical cannabis available to patients in Maryland. Please read the information below:
- Pre-Awards for Grower, Processor and Dispensaries have been announced, however, no actual final licenses to grow, process or dispense medical cannabis have been issued. The pre-approved entities are currently working through Stage Two of the licensing process, which includes extensive background investigations and regulatory requirements.
- This means there is no legal medical cannabis available to patients in the State of Maryland; written certifications for medical cannabis from physicians are not yet valid in the State of Maryland.
- NO patient identification cards are being issued at this time. The only legal and valid ID cards will be issued by the Commission.
- These cards can only be obtained through the Patient Registry, which will open during the first quarter of next year.
- Patients must first register as a qualifying patient on this website when the Patient Registry opens during the first quarter of next year. The Patient Registry is not yet open.
As a reminder, the process for obtaining legal medical cannabis, once available in the State, can be found here.
After medical marijuana legalization in Maryland , one of the issues at the forefront of public debate is zoning for medical cannabis businesses. While some community members want special zoning requirements, members of the medical marijuana business community disagree that new guidelines are needed. This video examines the dispute.
Medical cannabis business owners want to see their locations governed by the same regulations that govern drug stores and hospitals. By stressing that their legal marijuana businesses fulfill medical needs, business owners hope to win over community members who are nervous about dispensary locations. People opening a marijuana business should work closely with their attorney to find the right location within the current zoning requirements.
Medical cannabis in Maryland allows qualifying patients to use medicinal marijuana as part of their treatment plans for a wide number of conditions. If you are considering entering the cannabis business in Maryland, whether through growing marijuana or as a dispensary, understanding and adhering to patient guidelines will be an important part of your operations. Eligibility will also play a large role in determining the size of your customer base. Here is a look at current eligibility guidelines for medical marijuana access.
To prevent cross-border transport of medical marijuana originating in Maryland, all patients must be able to prove their Maryland residency. Patients must have either a valid state-issued ID or a photo ID, such as passport, with another piece of identification that proves their residency, such as bank statement or utility bill.
Written Certification from a Doctor
Anyone applying for medical marijuana access must have written documentation from a doctor recommending him or her for alternative medical care. The doctor providing the documentation must be licensed by the state to recommend medical marijuana. Patients are encouraged to obtain this documentation from a provider with whom they have a long-term relationship, if possible. If it is necessary to see a new provider, patients should be able to provide their medication records for review. To receive documentation from a doctor, patients must have a chronic or debilitating condition that requires hospice or palliative care or a chronic or debilitating condition that causes severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, anorexia, wasting syndrome, or cachexia.
All patients who seek to purchase medical marijuana must have a state medical card. To obtain a card, patients must submit an application to the appropriate state agency for review and provide all necessary supporting documentation. Once the state has issues a medical marijuana card, patients are then eligible to purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
As with any new business, it is important to lay the right foundation for your marijuana business in Maryland . Because there are additional legal complexities involved in setting up a cannabis business, working with a lawyer with experience in marijuana laws can help you avoid future complications. These tips will help you establish your cannabis business, from cultivating cannabis to setting up medical marijuana dispensaries.
Start by focusing on creating your business structure and completing any partnership agreements, with the help of your lawyer. Next, turn your attention to applying for the proper business licenses. Cannabis businesses are subject to their own set of approval and zoning requirements, which your lawyer can assist you in meeting. With the proper approvals in place, you can turn your attention to traditional start-up activities, including hiring employees, establishing business relationships, and marketing your services. Maintaining a close relationship with your lawyer will help you stay on top of any changing legal requirements that impact your business so you maintain compliance with state and federal medical marijuana laws.
The legalization of medical marijuana in Maryland has led to several new avenues of business opportunities for both dispensaries and growers. People who cultivate marijuana in Maryland for use in medical cannabis businesses must adhere to specific guidelines to remain in compliance with the state’s cannabis laws. Because some of these laws are still in flux and remain under consideration, it is important to work with an attorney with experience in medicinal marijuana law to ensure you stay compliant with all requirements. This advice will help new cultivators entering the field.
Prepare Your Application
All potential growers must submit an application and appropriate fees to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission . This application is the first step in being approved as a grower in Maryland, so it is essential that the information provided is thorough and complete. All submitted applications go through a multi-step review process. First, an independent committee reviews all applications and rates them based on how closely they adhere to the guidelines. Next, the Commission votes on pre-approvals to allow growers to progress to the next step, which is setting up a facility. You cannot change your application information once it is submitted, so work with an experienced attorney to ensure you are providing all of the relevant details.
Be Aware of Local Jurisdictions
The zoning for growing locations can differ from place to place. The Commission defers to local regulations when approving applications. Not all local zoning codes allow marijuana cultivation in all areas of agricultural production zones. Have a lawyer help you determine if your proposed growing location adheres to local regulations.
Create Your Facility in Accordance with Your Application
Before receiving final approval, the Commission will ensure that your cultivating facility is as described in your application. Any differences could delay your final approval. A lawyer can be extremely helpful in ensuring you meet these guidelines and avoid delays.
Not everyone supports marijuana legalization in Maryland. In Anne Arundel County, one of the controversies regarding medical cannabis is whether the county can ban legal marijuana in its jurisdiction, despite state-wide legalization. When you watch this video, you’ll hear about County Executive Steve Schuh, who proposed an outright ban on medical cannabis .
Since this news clip aired, however, the County Council and Mr. Schuh have reached a compromise. The bipartisan solution was to enact strict zoning rules that dictate where businesses can legally engage in growing cannabis, processing it, and selling it. The revised bill now includes prohibitions on window displays of cannabis and it restricts cannabis-related businesses from operating within 1,000 feet of schools and homes.