December 4, 2014
Maryland has released their approved regulations that will, with the possibility of some future changes, govern their medical cannabis program. Many clients have asked us how the regulations measure up.
Maryland vs. Illinois
First, they are incredibly detailed compared to the regulations created by many other states, specifying things like required fence heights, and routine recalibrations of weighing devices. In terms of the degree of detail and the creation of a competitive, score-based application process, Maryland’s regulations are most similar to those of Illinois. However, despite these similarities, Maryland has taken a far less harsh approach to regulation than Illinois; for example, Maryland had not mandated a punitive performance bond, and only requires that video footage from security cameras be stored for 90 days, rather than 180.
A Dispensary is Not Necessarily a Dispensary.
The structure of Maryland’s licenses is somewhat unusual. They are allowing applications for a Grower License and a Dispensary License. A Grower License applicant can also apply for a Dispensary License at the same time.
Now the strange part: a Dispensary License can be for a Retail-Dispensary, a Processing-Dispensary, or both. The premises of a retailer and a processor must be separate, even though they can both be granted the same license.
Additionally, the term “Processing-Dispensary” is something of a misnomer, since these businesses will not be allowed to dispense any products to the public. Requiring processing to take place in a facility that is entirely separate from any other marijuana business is not how most other states operate. However, this licensing scheme does allow for a fully vertically integrated entity that grows, processes, and dispenses medical cannabis.
Cannabis can grow outdoors!
One difference from most states that will clearly be benevolent for cannabis businesses is that Maryland will allow outdoor cultivation. Typically, outdoor grows are much more efficient in terms of cost per plant, and are a profitable supplement to greenhouse or indoor grows during the right seasons. In addition, outdoor cultivation is a more environmentally responsible and sustainable method of growing cannabis, since it does not require the energy-intensive lighting and environmental controls that are typical to indoor cultivation facilities.
There will be up to 15 Grower Licenses, up to 94 Retail-Dispensary Licenses (2 per senatorial district), and no limit on the number of Processing-Dispensary Licenses that Maryland issues.
However, Maryland only allows a party to have an interest in one license application, so make it count!
To elicit expert services in developing an exemplary application, contact Green Rush Consulting today.