The launch of the medical marijuana program in Maryland has been pushed back again. All program regulations were to be finalized by the September 15 deadline. Six weeks over due, the commission has delayed for at least one more week. The board will not meet again until November 13, so there will not be a final vote until next month.
More time is needed for the fifteen person team to carefully inspect and tailor program regulations. This time, the commission realized that it had not included any form of marijuana concentrate or extract. Without those important forms of medicine, patients would have only been permitted to medicate by smoking dried marijuana flowers. It is important to include other forms in the regulations because many patients are not able to smoke for medical reasons or preference.
The commission was also criticized for hefty fees that would be required for producer and retailer application and licensing. In the first draft, medical marijuana growers would be responsible for paying a $6,000 non-refundable application fee on top of $250,000 for licensing every two years once the application is approved. There are fifteen grower licenses available. Medical marijuana dispensary licensing fees total $40,000 per year with a $5,000 non-refundable application fee up front. There will be up to ninety-four dispensary licenses available. Patients would be required to pay $100 for a medical marijuana patient identification card on top of the cost of medicine. These licensing fees are also to be revised by the commission before regulations are finalized.
Earlier this month, decriminalization went into effect for posession of up to ten grams of usable marijuana, so at least patients who are able to find medication on the black market do not need to worry about being arrested. Unfortunately, not all patients are able to find a steady source of medication, and those who cannot are waiting anxiously for the state licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to open doors of operation.
photo credit: Marylandciminallawyer