Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Apply Throughout Maryland, Large Number Likely to Delay Approval

A November 25, 2015, Baltimore Sun article reported the state’s Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has released a breakdown showing a wide geographic dispersal of the 811 proposed medcial cannabis dispensary applications the Commission received by the November 6 deadline. The 811 number represents a significant increase from the Commission’s preliminary number of 269 dispensary applications.

Despite the large number of applications, State law provides no more than two dispensaries are allowed in each of the State’s 47 senate districts. The article also provided revised numbers for grower applications (146) and processor applications (124). From the article:

At least 89 applied to be in [Baltimore City], with another 15 in a district that straddles the [city-Baltimore County] line. In addition to those, there were 55 more in just two adjacent central Baltimore County districts.

The most licenses sought in a single district were in Takoma Park, where there were 10 applicants for every available license. Other areas with intense interest include 29 in Rockville and 25 in Frederick. The area with the fewest applications – 7 – was Talbot County on the Eastern Shore.

Hannah Byron, the commission’s executive director, said a “significant” number of groups applied in every single legislative district.

A November 24 Washington Post article highlighted the intense competition for dispensary licenses in the Takoma Park region.

A legislative district that includes Takoma Park faces the toughest competition within Maryland to open a medical marijuana dispensary, with 30 prospective operators vying for two spots, according to newly released data. …

Regulators received 29 applications to approve licenses in three jurisdictions: Baltimore County’s 42nd District and Baltimore City’s 46th District, as well as the 17th District, which covers Gaithersburg and Rockville. The average number of applications per district is 17.

A November 24 Frederick News-Post article reported on dispensary applications in Frederick County and the likely delay in approval due to the large number of applicants:

Maryland has received 37 applications to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Frederick County’s state Senate districts. …

The commission received 25 dispensary applications for District 3, which is entirely in Frederick County, and 12 applications for District 4, which includes portions of Frederick and Carroll counties. …

The state had planned to issue licenses this winter, allowing businesses to open by the end of 2016. A new schedule for approval will be released in the future, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Executive Director Hannah Byron said in a news release.

The article also lists the businesses that submitted a dispensary application for Districts 3 and 4.

A November 24 Herald Mail Media article highlighted applications for Districts 1 and 2 in Western Maryland:

More than 20 companies have applied for medical-marijuana dispensary licenses to locate in the two senatorial districts that cover Washington County, according to a breakdown of applications announced Tuesday by state officials. …

A total of 25 applications were made from 22 different entities for dispensaries in Washington County, which is partly in Senate District 1, as well as District 2. Three companies submitted applications in both districts.

District 1 covers Garrett, Allegany and Washington County west of the Conococheague Creek, while District 2 covers the remaining portion of the county eastward, including Hagerstown.

The article also noted that the Commission will be working with Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) to help develop a new timeline for application review.

“… It is premature to offer a revised schedule at this time,” Byron said. “We will work with RESI to revise the timeline accordingly and will make an announcement regarding the amended schedule in the near future.”

The article also discussed grower and processor applications in Washington County and listed the companies that submitted dispensary applications for Districts 1 and 2.

Finally, a November 25 Cumberland Times-News article also covered the Western Maryland applications, the various approaches taken by some applicants, and the likely delay in Commission review and approvals given the large number of applications:

The large volume of applicants is likely to cause the commission to reconsider the ambitious timeline in place for the rollout of the industry.

“We are pleased to share the official number of applications received by the submission deadline. With the tabulations now finalized, we look forward to developing a revised rollout schedule based on the volume of applications received,” said Hannah Byron, executive director of the cannabis commission, in the press release. …

Some applicants seeking a dispensary license applied in multiple, or even all of the 47 senatorial districts. This drove the totals for applicants filing for a dispensary license up. However, the method does not appear to help the applicants gain a license.

“Despite this approach by applicants, regulations prohibit any candidate from receiving more than one dispensary license,” the commission said.

Applicants for growing and processing licenses did not have to indicate where they will operate. However, two firms have announced their desire to locate in Allegany County.

A full list of applicants can be found on the Commission’s website.

The 2015 MACo Winter Conference will feature two sessions on medical cannabis: (1) a session on county zoning for grower and processor facilities and dispensaries on Thursday, December 10; and (2) a general session on medicinal efficacy and security and financial oversight issues on Friday, December 11.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.