A broadening number of potential medical marijuana patients in Maryland say they feel cheated. Maryland patients have been waiting several years for the state's medical marijuana program to be implemented, but according to recent developments, a wave of scammers has arrived to take advantage of those that are sick and desperate to find access to medical marijuana.
Reports of sketchy medical marijuana cards and pre-approval services gravely worry industry officials, as neither service is a legitimate practice in Maryland. At least 20 cases of possible marijuana business scams have been reported according to Vanessa Lyon, spokesman for the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
“We know there are already attempts at fake patient identification cards being promulgated,” Patrick Jameson, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, said in a statement. “This type of fraudulent activity preys against the most vulnerable people in society and we will do everything possible to stop this behavior. Only patient identification cards issued by the Commission are legitimate. At this point no ID cards have been issued.”
According to Darrell Carringon, the executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Industry Association, all of those services are a scam. “There is no such thing as pre-approval,” Carringon said.
Per the Maryland Medical Marijuana Act, there is one and only one legitimate marijuana registry, and it won't be open for certifications until early 2017. The state's program doesn't require written prescriptions; doctors will instead use an online system to certify patients. Doctor certifications are valid for 120 days, and certified patients will be able to obtain up to one-month's supply of marijuana at a time.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission recently released the names of the first 102 preliminary dispensary licenses (you can read the full list of preapproved medical marijuana companies here). Patients, however, won't be able to purchase medical marijuana until late 2017 or early 2018. For now, no Maryland doctors are permitted to issue medical marijuana certifications until the licensing process is completed.