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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Staying abreast of the latest regulations regarding cannabis services can be challenging. For cannabis business owners; however, it is essential to remain in full compliance with local and state laws. This is one reason why investors in medical marijuana near Rockville have turned to the Medical Cannabis Law Group for guidance. At our law firm, we walk investors through every step of the process, from filling out applications and obtaining permits to handling claims made against your company. We handle matters pertaining to cannabis-related business formation and ongoing operational concerns. Our attorneys can offer expert legal representation in the event your business is ever alleged to have committed a violation of medical marijuana law.
By partnering with the Medical Cannabis Law Group, your cannabis-related service team can plan for short-term and long-term success without worrying about regulatory compliance. Our attorney can keep you up-to-date on the latest regulation changes and related issues that may affect your business to let you focus on your bottom line.
Marijuana laws are changing around the country, including right here in Maryland. Residents are who possess up to 10 grams of marijuana will be fined and cited instead of being arrested and put behind bars. Watch this news clip to learn more about Maryland’s changing marijuana possession regulations.
Marijuana laws are extremely complex, especially when it comes to the issue of medical marijuana in Maryland. If you currently own or operate a medical marijuana dispensary or are thinking about entering cannabis business, make sure to build a relationship with a criminal law attorney in Rockville who specializes in medical cannabis law . A marijuana law group may also provide you with strategic advice to help get your cannabis business off the ground and make sure you adhere to Maryland’s complex marijuana laws and regulations.
On April 14, 2014, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed HB 881 and SB 923 into law, officially making MD the 21 st state with an effective medical marijuana program. While these new laws and regulations provide the framework and infrastructure for medical marijuana, cannabis entrepreneurs still face numerous obstacles. Fortunately, there are criminal law attorneys in Rockville who specialize in medical marijuana and can help you comply with Maryland’s complex marijuana regulations.
Medical Marijuana Regulation
MD’s medical marijuana program is regulated by the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commissions. The Commission is an independent group that functions within the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The 15-member committee oversees the implementation of the state’s medical marijuana program.
General Marijuana Provisions
HB 881 and SB 923 allow qualifying patients to possess up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana. The twin bills also establish the process by which patients can qualify for and obtain medical marijuana. There is no limit to the number of dispensaries that the Commission may license, so contact a marijuana lawyer if you are interested in setting up a dispensary in Rockville.
Qualifying Medical Condition
In order to qualify for legal protection under the new law, a patient must have a written recommendation from a qualified physician certifying the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana. A patient can qualify for medical marijuana if he or she suffers from a medical condition or treatment that causes wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.
Medical marijuana can only be legally obtained in Maryland from a licensed dispensary or directly from one of the 15 licensed medical marijuana growers in the state. Beginning June 1, 2016, the Commissions may increase the number of licenses marijuana growers to meet demand. If you are interested in becoming a licensed cultivator, consult with a law firm in Rockville that specializes in medical marijuana law.
Marijuana legalization has opened the door to dynamic business opportunities. However, the requirements to become a licensed grower or dispensary operator are extremely strict, with good reason. If you’re considering launching a business for medical marijuana near Rockville, you should consult an attorney at law, especially if you have ever had criminal charges filed against you. When applying for a license, you will have to provide sets of legible fingerprints and personal information to the Director of the Central Repository so that a criminal background check may be conducted.
As you’ll learn by watching this video, it may be possible that the background check will reveal felony charges, even if the case was dismissed. This depends upon the extent of the background check. However, since the case was dismissed, it may not necessarily be held against you. It’s best to consult a lawyer for personalized legal guidance.