Eight growing companies were awarded their final marijuana licenses on Monday. Maryland’s medical marijuana regulators approved the licenses, giving the companies permission to start cultivating immediately.
Some of the companies said it would be weeks before they could start cultivating, while others say they are ready to start immediately. So far, the commission had only granted final approval to one firm, Anne Arundel-based ForwardGro. This step will allow nine of the 15 selected firms to move forward, something they have been anticipating for many months.
In 2013, Maryland joined a handful of states that had legalized medical marijuana use. Only one firm could not possibly produce enough of the drug to support 102 dispensaries. This step will ensure that there is enough medical marijuana available to meet the growing demand.
New Frontier, a marijuana industry research group, has estimated by 2021 Maryland’s marijuana market will be worth $221 million each year. The industry is plagued with complaints from state lawmakers and Black Caucus members, because the commission failed to include firms owned by African-Americans in the licensing approval process.
Curio Wellness in Baltimore County, Freestate Wellness in Howard County Temescal Wellness of Baltimore, Harvest of Maryland in Washington County, HMS Health and Green Leaf Medical, both in Frederick County, Carroll County’s Grassroots of Maryland and Holistic in Prince George’s County were among the eight firms to receive their final growing licenses Monday.
Blair Wellness of Worcester County was also granted a final license Monday to process the drug.
A total of 400 medical providers have registered to recommend the drug and 12,000 people have registered to receive medical marijuana as of Monday. The only licensed dispensary is located in Frederick and over 100 are still waiting to receive their licenses.