The Cannabis Industry in Maryland

Before there was talk of a medical cannabis program in Maryland, an entire industry of “head” shops and tobacconists operated openly but with severe penalties for selling anything that was not strictly for tobacco consumption only! Selling water pipes and “bowls” to knowing consumers, who simply were looking for safe and effective ways to deliver cannabis, these merchants dealt in a legal gray market:

Source: (1981)Headshop laws –When is a pipe a bong? Challenges abound to state laws – UPI Archives

As time moved on, the situation improved, but the penalties for “paraphernalia” were almost as steep as drug possession. Certain “codes of conduct” that had developed over the years stuck, as a public intolerance for cannabis culture continued.

However, as Maryland’s medical cannabis program begins to take shape, there are revised paraphernalia laws, and a public policy shift that is starting to make sense:

Source: After Hogan veto overturned, marijuana paraphernalia won’t be criminal in Maryland – Baltimore Sun

And just like that, it turns out one of the first (unwittingly?) legal participants in Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Industry are the “head” shops and glass blowers of Maryland. Of course, physicians and other medical professionals also count, as they have been able to register and recommend to patients since 2016. But this opens up the rest of the story. When one thinks of the participants in a medical cannabis industry, Cultivators, Processors and Dispensaries certainly spring to mind, along with Physicians and medical professionals. And now, perhaps smoke shops and “head” shops are added to the mental list.

There are a whole slew of other businesses and ancillary services that any industry rely upon. And, when dealing with a highly regulated product like cannabis, even more services and participants emerge. Specialized security and cleaning services, transportation, banking, legal and copyright services, all become players in this new industry sweeping across Maryland. Add on to this the amount of new jobs created within the industry and ancillary businesses, and that is a potential for a great economic boon for the state.

Darren Weiss, Esq., Erik Chapman of cloud-n, and Dr. Andrew Rosenstein sat down with jCanna’s Josh Crossney.

Looking around the country, it is hard to dispute that cannabis revenue is good for states that choose to allow it. Medical cannabis programs are shedding age-old stereotypes at record rates, showing that crime rates tend to decrease, while quality of life measures go up:

Source: Marijuana legalization: Research review on crime and impaired driving – Journalist’s Resource

And now with Nevada preparing to open the doors to adult-use (‘recreational’) cannabis at midnight July 1, 2017, a whole new crop of vacationers will be able to legally try cannabis for the first time. The tide has turned, and progress is clear.

What does this mean for Maryland? It means that this summer while our medical cannabis industry takes root and begins to show signs of life, our communities are going to start to see new and exciting businesses and services pop up. The green cannabis leaf will likely feature in more than one logo or store-front sign. Head shops will begin to tolerate discussion of which tool for which prescribed cannabis preparation, or tolerate the mere utterance of “bong” or “marijuana” within the confines of the shop. Perhaps your business or employer will take on new clients from the cannabis industry, or maybe your doctor will talk with you about medical cannabis as possible treatment. All of these are positive signs of progress, and all signify a dawning of opportunity and change in attitudes toward cannabis.

There are so many committed people and groups, working to inform and educate the public. We plan to feature these in coming posts, and now work with many of them on an ongoing basis to bring education to the patients, medical professionals, and the community. It are these relationships that build networks; and networks foster understanding through communication.

The Medical Industry in Maryland

It is our goal at The Medical Cannabis Report to foster an environment of community acceptance and integration. We do this through information, education, and exploration into the culture of cannabis, and offer a conduit for the community and the industry to grow and learn together.

One of our first such efforts took place in August 2016. We orchestrated a series of Table Discussions with members of the Maryland community to discuss medical cannabis, and the industry coming to Maryland. Darren Weiss, Esq., Erik Chapman of cloud-n, and Dr. Andrew Rosenstein sat down with jCanna’s Josh Crossney. Here is what they had to say:

DC Cannabis-Dealing Arrests Back to Pre-Legalization Levels | Leafly

Helping communities and police understand and work with cannabis law is going to be one of the toughest things to adjust for “on the fly.”

We need to understand that the plant is safe, effective for some conditions, and carries less risk of abuse (and harm from abuse) than many other legal substances.

The seat of our Federal Government is a very odd place, legally, for cannabis. However, there are so many dedicated cultivators, processors, extractors, and dispensaries, not to mention just those citizens dedicated to donating medicine to patients. Here’s an update on how cannabis law enforcement is looking in the District:

Washington, DC, voters legalized cannabis possession and cultivation in 2014, but thanks to Congress blocking a regulated market, sales remain illegal.

Source: DC Cannabis-Dealing Arrests Back to Pre-Legalization Levels | Leafly

Keep up to date with all that is happening in Maryland, DC and across the nation. Stay Tuned!

Focus On What Matters

Remain focused on what is important.
It is always unsettling when another story pops up in the news about law suites and program delays. Sometimes, we must step back and understand it will take vigilance and good conscience to live up to Maryland’s potential as an outstanding example of a solid medical cannabis program. Thanks to some wonderful participants and license awardees, the patients and medical professionals of our state have a powerful medicine to treat a range of conditions.

One shining example keeping focused on the vision is ForwardGro. They are the first licensed cultivator in Maryland to have “plants in the dirt”, and are expecting to have cannabis ready for patients by the Fall of 2017. That could be earlier or later, depending on a variety of factors.

  • Inspection Schedules
  • Processor and Dispensary readiness
    • Final License
    • Local Ordinances
  • Lawsuits and other legal issues

One thing will be certain: The Medical Cannabis Report will strive to give the necessary news, information, and entertainment for the Maryland community and our cannabis industry. Follow us here on ourblog, or check out our other social media. Also, remember to subscribe, and you won’t miss a thing.

Stay Tuned!

Cooperation

Medical Cannabis
Cooperation is about working together to achieve a common goal. It is so encouraging to see such behavior in Maryland’s medical cannabis industry. Our hopes are high that the true spirit of working together permeates all aspects of Maryland’s industry and culture. There is just too much to lose.

Stay Tuned! and check out Maryland’s patient registry.

The end of the beginning

I’ve heard a certain phase of growth described as “the end of the beginning” and it seems to apply nicely to where The Medical Cannabis Report sits at this phase of development.  Some things have happened, some growth has occurred, and certain awkward phases of development have an end on the horizon.

Cannabis Plants Flowering
Cannabis Plants Flowering

The same thing could also be said about Maryland’s medical cannabis program.  After years (yes, years) of being state law, Maryland patients finally have the real possibility of obtaining legal medical cannabis from licensed growers, processors, and dispensaries as recommended by a medical professional.  The original law calling for legal medical cannabis for Maryland patients passed in 2013.  The first dispensaries are expected to open “by the end of the summer”, according to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission’s website.

There have been many delays over the years, and the most recent lawsuit temporarily shut down the whole medical cannabis program in Maryland.  However, it appears the begging of the end of waiting is upon the patients, caregivers, medical professionals and industry participants.  A whole new economy is literally growing at this moment.   It invites us, as a community in Maryland, to welcome growth and a forward way of thinking.  There will most certainly be challenges in the coming months and years, and also tremendous opportunity to take part in one of the fastest growing industries in North America.

Well, hopefully this beginning of the end allows The Medical Cannabis Report to provide real service and important resources for our community.  Our video programs are working their way through the production pipeline, and we are helping our industry participants open their doors to a willing and informed public.  Please continue to watch us here and on our other channels, as we keep you informed about Maryland’s progress, and follow the culture of cannabis as is grows and develops.