Ten canna-businesses that missed a key deadline for medical marijuana licenses in Maryland have been given extra time to complete the process, state regulators announced this week. All businesses applying for cannabis licenses in the state were supposed to have finished inspections and final background checks within a year of when they received preliminary approval last August.
Three cultivation centers and two processing companies who did meet this deadline were granted final approvals by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission this week. Two growers and eight processing companies failed to meet the deadline, but the MMCC decided to give them extra time rather than rescinding their preliminary approval. Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission, said that the commission will monitor the progress of these ten companies and decide whether or not to approve them “on a case-by-case basis.”
Maryland has now licensed twelve growers, six processors, and one dispensary. However, the approval process has faced constant setbacks as the commission struggles with lawsuits and allegations of conflicts of interest over its choice of licensees. The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland has fought to restart the application process because the MMCC did not award any licenses to minority-owned businesses. The commission is also investigating one of the processing companies, which had its application reviewed by a team that included the wife of one of its executives.
At this week's meeting, the MMCC also discussed the possibility of expanding the number of processors in the state. The number of growers is capped by law, but the commission has the ability to add additional processing licenses. Lobbyists for canna-businesses have argued that a larger pool of processors would create a broader range of medical cannabis products on the market. An increase in licenses could also potentially allow more minority- or female-owned companies to get involved in the industry.