Pubdate: Thu, 07 Dec 2017
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2017 The Baltimore Sun Company


Medical marijuana is now available in Maryland. Here's what you need
to know about it.

Medical marijuana is now available in Maryland, more than four years
after the General Assembly passed a law legalizing it.

Standing up the industry -- with growers, processors, dispensaries and
doctors -- took longer than expected. The law needed to be tweaked,
rules needed to be written and legal battles needed to be fought over
who won licenses.

Here's what prospective users need to know about medical marijuana.

Who is eligible to get a recommendation for medical marijuana in

State law says the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission "is encouraged
to approve" medical marijuana recommendations for:

* Patients who are diagnosed with any condition that is severe, for
which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and for which
the symptoms "reasonably can be expected to be relieved" by the
medical use of marijuana.

* The commission specifically lists glaucoma and post-traumatic stress
disorder as qualifying conditions.

What's the process to get a written certification for medical

Consumers first must register online as a patient with the commission.
In addition to Maryland residents, non-Maryland residents who are in
the state receiving medical treatment are eligible to register.

Patients must submit an electronic copy of a government-issued photo
identification (driver's license, passport or military ID), proof of
address, a clear recent photo and the last four numbers of their
Social Security number. More information about the process is
available on the commission's website.

For patients under age 18, a parent or legal guardian age 21 or older
must register with the commission as a caregiver before registering
the patient.

After registering, patients must obtain a written certification
(recommendation) from a provider registered with the commission. The
provider will need the patient's commission-issued Patient ID number
to issue the certification through the commission's secure online
application. If a certification is not used to purchase medical
cannabis within 120 days, it becomes null and void.

Patients also can purchase ID cards for $50 from the commission after
receiving a written certification. ID cards are not required to buy
medical marijuana.

More than 17,000 consumers in Maryland have registered for medical

Do I need to go to a special doctor to get one?

Like patients seeking medical marijuana, doctors and other medical
providers recommending medical cannabis to patients must be registered
with the commission.

More than 500 providers -- including doctors, nurses and dentists --
have signed on to the program, according to recent data from the commission.

MedChi compiled a list of member doctors by region who are licensed by
the Board of Physicians, licensed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis
Commission and who asked to be listed. also
provides a list of verified medical marijuana doctors in the state.

Can doctors prescribe medical marijuana?

No, prescribing medical cannabis is illegal under federal law. Doctors
and other healthcare providers can only recommend or issue written
certifications for medical marijuana.

Where can I get it?

Five of the state's 10 licensed dispensaries are currently open in the
state, and many have limited supplies. Here's a map.

Others are expected to open in the coming weeks, and 12 more were
recently approved.

And more are in planning and development, but by law there can be no
more than two dispensaries in each of the state's 47 legislative
districts (not including licensed growers, who may also hold
dispensary licenses).

Are different strains or products available at different dispensaries?

Yes. Many dispensaries offer different strains of dried marijuana with
different properties designed to help treat various ailments. In
addition to the dried plant, some dispensaries offer liquids that can
be vaporized, oils, concentrates, topical ointments, wax, pills and
accessories. Some extracts can be added to foods at home, but edible
marijuana products are not available from Maryland

How much does it cost?

The price varies. At Kannavis, a dispensary in Ijamsville, dried
product sells for about $50 to $60 per eighth-ounce, or $100 to $112
per quarter-ounce. A half-gram vape cartridge of extract from the shop
costs $90. Some locations have chosen to go cashless.

Will insurance pay for it?

Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States does not cover medical
marijuana, according to a spokesman. Coverage information for
UnitedHealthcare and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield was not
immediately available.

The federal government still classifies pot as an illegal drug. What
impact does that have here?

Customers cannot travel to other states with medical marijuana from
Maryland. The Transportation Security Administration does not screen
for marijuana, but it likely will be confiscated if found during a

Has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved medical

No, the FDA has not approved any product containing or derived from

Can patients or doctors grow their own medical marijuana?


How much medical marijuana can I possess at one time?

I have a certification for medical marijuana. Can I give my medical
marijuana to someone else?


What happens if I am stopped by law enforcement and carrying medical

Patients do not have to consent to a search, nor do they have to
disclose that they possess medical marijuana. If medical cannabis is
found during a search, the patient should present their patient ID
card or direct law enforcement officials to the marijuana commission's

Driving under the influence of marijuana is still a crime.

What about workplace drug tests?

Is there a chance recreational marijuana use could be legalized in

Several Democratic state lawmakers introduced a bill during the 2017
General Assembly session to hold a statewide referendum on whether to
legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, while regulating and
taxing it. The bill didn't get much traction, but the issue isn't
going away. Several states that legalized its recreational use are
seeing significant revenue from marijuana sales.

What's next for medical marijuana?

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams said a trial should
determine whether state regulators acted outside the law when they
chose which companies won lucrative licenses to grow the drug. A trial
date has not yet been set.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are expected to address concerns about the lack
of minority ownership among the companies that won licenses, which
could mean an increase in the number of authorized growers and/or
processors. From a consumer's prospective, that eventually could lead
to greater supply of the drug and potentially lower costs.

Regardless, the current medical marijuana law calls for the cannabis
commission to evaluate whether there are enough growers in the state
to meet demand and to issue however many licenses are necessary after
June 1, 2018.

This FAQ has been updated. An earlier version referred to
prescriptions for medical marijuana, which cannot be prescribed; the
state calls for certifications (recommendations).
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MAP posted-by: Matt