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A Snapshot Of America's Medical Marijuana Markets: Maryland

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A Snapshot Of America's Medical Marijuana Markets: Maryland

Like many states, Maryland has a medical cannabis market that shows growth, potential and significant pain points.

Maryland began revising its cannabis laws in 2012 when state lawmakers approved a medical marketplace. Two years later, the possession of 10 grams or less was decriminalized.

In 2017, Maryland's medical program became operational. 

Data provided by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission shows that 84,000 patients are registered in the program, with 7,000 caregivers enrolled.

Triple-Digit Increases In Maryland's Patient Enrollment 

Since the launch, the state has granted licenses to over 80 dispensaries, 16 processors and 15 cultivators, as well as four registered independent testing labs. On the medical front, more than 1,500 providers have enrolled in the program.

The program's growth has been reflected in its sales.

In the first year, the state generated $95.4 million in sales between December 2017 and Nov. 30, 2018.

The state's monthly cannabis sales growth clocked in at an average of 21%, with November being the most lucrative month with $13.8 million in sales. 

Maryland saw a 191% increase in patient enrollment between December 2017 and June 2018. 

Lawmakers Consider Adult-Use Legislation

Maryland has seen its fair share of turmoil as its legal cannabis market matures. 

In recent months, growers increased their cultivation capacities to meet higher demand driven by the recent authorization of edible products and other measures.

In September, a state report showed that sales are on pace to double in 2019.

That same month, plans to award four additional cultivation licenses and 10 to processors were put on hold. The decision led to a flurry of legal threats alleging unfairness by the MMCC.

In response, the commission announced plans for two independent investigations into its determination process. A third review was announced in mid-October.

Maryland could see adult-use legislation come to fruition as well.

In May, state lawmakers launched a workgroup made up of 10 senators and 10 delegates to determine the best ways to enact adult-use measures. 

By June, lawmakers were acknowledging the complexity of legalization. 

Cannabis Advocate: Prices 'Absolutely Outrageous' 

Maryland cannabis advocates have mixed reviews of the state's medical marijuana program. 

Keisha Reed, CEO of the Maryland Cannabis Community Partnership, said she rates the program with a "C-." 

Reed and Kris Furnish, co-founder of Maryland Marijuana Justice, both touched on the state's issues. 

An eighth of an ounce of flower can run from $30 to $60 depending on the vendor and location, they said. 

"The prices here in Maryland are absolutely outrageous," Furnish said. "I honestly don't understand how anyone on a low income can even afford to be a medical patient."

Furnish touched on several additional pain points, including a lack of minority and female license holders.

An abundance of out-of-state license holders are compounding the issue, she said. 

Posted-In: Maryland Maryland Cannabis Community Partnership Maryland Marijuana JusticeCannabis News Markets Interview Best of Benzinga

 

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