Preliminary Approval Given to Maryland Medical Cannabis Growers and Processors
Maryland has had a bumpy road when it comes to medical cannabis. Maryland's first medical cannabis law only allowed an affirmative defense when caught with up to an ounce of medical cannabis.
That is quite different than most other states, where you are protected from any action by law enforcement if you are within your limits. With Maryland's old law, cops could still arrest you. It wasn't until you went to court (and paid out the nose) that the affirmative defense was useful.
That version of Maryland's program then went to an unworkable version in which teaching hospitals were in charge of the program, none of which wanted to sign up.
A somewhat workable program arrives in 2014
In 2014 Maryland passed a medical cannabis measure that improved the program quite a bit. It wasn't as good as other states out West, but it was certainly better than what was on the books prior.
Patients are now able to posses up to a '30 day supply' of cannabis, as determined by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
The new system affords for dispensaries and commercial cultivators. However, the program still does not allow for home cultivation.
Where do patients get their medicine?
The current version of the Maryland medical cannabis program has been around since 2014, but there is still no locations in Maryland to legally purchase medical cannabis.
If patients can't grow their own medicine, the only legal way to obtain it is from a dispensary, which don't exist in Maryland yet.
However, there appears to be movement on this front, as the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has granted preliminary approval to 15 growers and 15 processors.
The black market will continue to thrive in Maryland until more changes are made
That is good news for patients who don't have any other way to obtain medicine. This is, of course, once dispensaries are open for patients to frequent them, which is still a bit down the road.
But even when dispensaries open, and patients are able to make legal purchases, the program still won't be as good as it can be. Until patients can grow their own medicine, Maryland's program will always be flawed.
This also means the black market will always thrive in Maryland as long as patients can't grow their own. Some patients will no doubt be unable to afford shopping at a dispensary, and will instead go to the streets for cheaper, untested, unregulated cannabis.
How many dispensaries should be allowed in Maryland?