Medical Marijuana Has Arrived in Maryland
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Medical Marijuana Has Arrived in Maryland
Posted by CN Staff on December 01, 2017 at 13:43:33 PT
By Fenit Nirappil, Rachel Siegel and Aaron Gregg
Source: Washington Post
Maryland -- At least 200 would-be customers were lined up outside Rockville’s first medical marijuana dispensary Friday afternoon when business owner Bill Askinazi announced that the first cannabis shipment including elixirs, tablets and flowers had arrived.He promised that everyone in line would go home with at least some cannabis, then explained that computer issues were delaying the start of sales, and rushed back inside.
Call it a soft opening for Maryland’s long-awaited medical marijuana program, which seemed about to launch Friday after nearly five years of bureaucracy and delays.At least two out of the state’s 10 licensed dispensaries planned to receive their first pot shipment and open their doors to customers. In addition to Askinazi’s Potomac Holistics, there was Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Cumberland, near the Pennsylvania border, where the cannabis was expected about 5 p.m.Those lined up outside Potomac Holistics included some who drove for over an hour to get to the dispensary. They made friends with other “line buddies” and remembered loved ones for whom medical marijuana wasn’t an option — a wife who battled cancer four years ago, a mother who died of Parkinson’s.“I’m looking forward to no pain, no stress,” said David Johnson, 38, who was third in line after arriving at 10:20 a.m. and suffers from nerve damage from a surgery nearly a decade ago. “I know you can’t smoke it in the parking lot, but I won’t make it too much past here.”Five other dispensaries also told The Washington Post that they plan to start selling cannabis products in coming days. One of those medical marijuana shops, the Wellness Institute of Maryland in Frederick, said it has already made limited sales through a trial program, but declined to provide further details.The launch of the industry doesn’t mean that medical marijuana will be easy to buy, however. Due to low supply and high demand, dispensaries are limiting their first sales to patients who have preregistered with them. And medical marijuana entrepreneurs caution that the first batch of cannabis products may be especially expensive, because quantities are limited, only a few growers are ready to deliver, and cannabis business are trying to make up for hefty start-up costs.“After six months we’ll be on par with what people will be paying in the black market,” said Charlie Mattingly who runs Southern Maryland Relief dispensary in Mechanicsville. “I just need my foot in the door, I’m not trying to gouge anybody in the first year . . . Every new market and new state starts a little bit high.”Health insurance plans do not cover the drug, which is still considered illegal under federal law.Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary, in Cumberland, said in a Facebook post that pot would cost $680 per ounce, about a one-month supply. That’s several times what dispensaries charge in states like Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon, which have the country’s largest legal marijuana markets. But Sajal Roy, manager of the Allegany Medical, said he expects the price to drop to about $560 by January.Michael Klein, who runs Wellness Institute of Maryland in Frederick, said his dispensary would sell medical marijuana for between $440 and $520 an ounce when it opens Monday. Charlie Mattingly, who runs Southern Maryland Relief dispensary in Mechanicsville, said his prices would start at $400 per ounce and gradually drop.There are still relatively few places to buy medical marijuana in Maryland. Ninety-two dispensaries that received preliminary licenses from the state nearly a year ago have yet win final approval, and their deadline to meet licensing requirements is just a week away. It’s unclear whether the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission — which on Friday announced the appointment of health care executive Joy Strand as its third executive director in as many years — extend the deadline.Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half of the U.S. states and the District. Advocates say the launch of the program in Maryland is cause for celebration.“The most important thing is that patients will be getting an opportunity for a new class of therapeutic drugs that will continue to expand as the science continues to expand,” said Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), a physician who led the charge for medical marijuana in the state legislature.Darrell Carrington, a lobbyist for medical marijuana companies, said some dispensary owners have been struggling to secure zoning approvals from local government officials and to find landlords willing to rent to their businesses.“It’s going to be a little bit more drama, regrettably, at the beginning,” he said. “However, everyone is over the moon that we finally have a program,” he said.In Montgomery County, Potomac Holistics in Rockville said it plans to open for sales late Friday afternoon, while Rise Bethesda planned to open on Saturday morning. Another Washington-area shop, Rise Silver Spring, said it has no timeline for opening despite a ribbon-cutting earlier this week.In Frederick County, Kannavis of Ijamsville said it was planning to open Saturday, while Wellness Institute of Maryland planned to open its doors on Monday.And Southern Maryland Wellness in Mechanicsville said it would start sales on Sunday depending on the timing of shipments, while Peninsula Alternative Health on the Eastern Shore was looking at a Monday opening date. Two dispensaries in Howard County planned to open later in December.The Facebook post from Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary that listed the $680-per-ounce price prompted a variety of reactions.“Guess I’ll stick with black market,” one Facebook commenter responded.“I’ll pay to be legal,” another posted.But not everyone was happy. The opening of marijuana dispensaries angered critics who see it as a normalization of the drug in an increasingly permissive culture.DeForest Rathbone, a resident of St. Mary’s County who is founder of the National Institute of Citizen Anti-Drug Policy, accused the Maryland Health Department of creating “a de facto drug cartel . . . to promote and enable lucrative marijuana businesses to sell their dangerous, addictive, mind-altering, child-brain-poisoning, family-destroying pot products throughout the entire state of Maryland.”Although medical marijuana has won support from both Democrats and Republicans, who see the industry as a source of jobs and an alternate to addictive opioids, the opening of dispensaries has stirred opposition in some communities where the businesses will be located.Fenit Nirappil covers politics and government in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. He previously covered the California statehouse and suburban government outside Portland, Ore. Rachel graduated from Yale and is a reporting intern on the local politics team. Aaron Gregg covers the Washington-area economy and defense contractors for Capital Business, The Post’s local business section. He studied music (Jazz guitar) and political science at Emory University in Atlanta, and has a graduate degree in public policy from Georgetown.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Fenit Nirappil, Rachel Siegel and Aaron GreggPublished: December 1, 2017Copyright: 2017 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on December 05, 2017 at 14:37:00 PT
Fortunately people in Maryland can call one of the dozens of delivery services in DC, just check out or 
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on December 05, 2017 at 10:29:26 PT
Contrast with Maryland
How Maine
Devolved From Cannabis Oasis to Battleground for Session’s Federal Crackdown.
By	Ethan Maszczenski - Special To Cannabis Culture on	December 3, 2017 now has medical cannabis dispensaries opening. Maine's Governor vetoed implementation of the voter-passed cannabis legalization initiative.
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