Pubdate: Mon, 23 May 2016
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2016 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC.


Maryland's state medical marijuana commission delivered a blow to 
marijuana advocates and would-be entrepreneurs last week by abruptly 
capping the number of businesses that can process marijuana into 
pills, oils and other products.

The commission also gave conflicting information about when the first 
long-awaited growing licenses would be issued, with Executive 
Director Patrick Jameson first saying it would be late summer or 
early fall, then stating that licenses would come "weeks" after the 
evaluations of the applications are completed in early July.

At the commission's first public meeting in months, marijuana 
advocates and entrepreneurs complained about the slow pace and the 
secrecy of the process.

"We have been waiting patiently for the commission to do its work, 
but every day is a challenge when you're watching your child seize, 
fall behind in school and lose ground," said Jennifer Porcari, who 
has fought for years for access to medical cannabis to treat her 
child's epilepsy.

The commission was supposed to start awarding licenses to grow 
marijuana for medical use in January. But the commission received 
applications from twice as many businesses as it anticipated, and the 
timetable has changed several times.

The commission has extended by four months its contract with the 
Regional Economics Studies Institute at Towson University, which is 
managing a committee of two dozen evaluators that is reviewing and 
scoring the applications.

Towson is expected to deliver scored applications in July to the 
15-person commission, which has the final say in who gets licenses.

Given the time needed to grow and process cannabis, medical marijuana 
probably will not be available in the state until the summer of 2017.

By The Washington Post
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom