Amid MMJ Delays, Maryland Approves 8 New Cultivators

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Maryland regulators recently approved eight new medical cannabis cultivation licenses, and several of the companies say they’re ready to begin growing immediately.

Fifteen cultivators were originally selected originally to receive cultivator licenses, the Baltimore Sun reports, but until last Monday, only one had received final permission to begin growing the plants. With last week’s approval of eight more cultivators, production is expected finally to ramp up. Cultivators will eventually be expected to supply a planned 102 dispensaries across the state.

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The change begins to address what’s become the latest delay of many in Maryland, which passed medical marijuana legislation back in 2013.

According to the industry research group New Frontier, the state’s annual medical marijuana market will be worth around $221 million by 2021.

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The additional grow licenses come as welcome news for patients—especially after they’ve weathered numerous delays that have slowed implementation of the state’s medical cannabis law.

State courts are currently reviewing two separate cases alleging that state regulators improperly picked companies to grow cannabis. Meanwhile lawmakers in Maryland have weighed adding regulations to ensure more cultivator licenses go to firms owned by African-American entrepreneurs.

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Of the 15 cultivator licenses earmarked for approval, none were granted to black applicants—an outcome the state explicitly tried to avoid when crafting state licensing rules.

In any event, patients will have to continue to wait for medicine, as there is only one dispensary open in the state, by appointment only. As of last Monday, 12,000 people that have signed up to become eligible for medical marijuana, according to the Baltimore Sun. On the provider side, 400 medical professionals have signed up to be able to recommend cannabis.