In a historic move for the cannabis advocacy in Maryland, the first cannabis seeds have been planted, four years after the plant has received a legal green light for medical use in the state.
For now, 19 companies were successfully cleared for growing, processing, and selling cannabis. In the next few months, the flowers will then be harvested and tested in an independent lab facility. After which, it will be processed into different forms such as oils, creams, as well as capsules.
Why the delay?
Only a single dispensary has been licensed in Maryland since cannabis’ legalization in 2014, thanks to some bureaucratic missteps and legal disputes that effectively delayed due access to legal marijuana.
Now, there are about 100 dispensaries on the process of licensing who are given until December of this year to fully set up and be operational.
For now, there are already about 13,000 patients who have signed up for marijuana access while 428 healthcare providers registered to be able to certify patients.
Despite this, there remains strong antagonism within communities for cannabis, a problem that is evident in many dispensaries struggling to find landlords who will accommodate their business.
This is unsurprising, knowing that marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law.
Jennifer Porcari, resident of Cheverly and advocate of medical marijuana believes it’s too early to make any celebration.
“When we are able to go to a dispensary anywhere and pick it up, we are all ready for it. They have spent so much time on it, it’s going to be a great system. We just need it to go, go, go.”