Photo via O’Dea
Four years after being legalized, medical cannabis is finally available for registered patients in Maryland today. Ten dispensaries in the state have at last been cleared to open their doors and serve more than 8,000 patients who have been approved to use medical marijuana. “It’s really the start of the culmination of a four-year journey for us,” Bill Askinazi, owner of Potomac Holistics, one of the first dispensaries to open, told WAMU.
Maryland’s medical cannabis program has been beset with legal battles, leadership shakeups, and organizational issues that have caused seemingly endless delays. The state’s program was first delayed by a lack of funding for the licensing commission, but further delays were caused by several lawsuits accusing the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) of failing to consider racial diversity as well as not following the rules of own their licensing process.
The MMCC has also suffered a number of leadership changes, with two directors resigning in the past two years. Former director Hannah Byron resigned in January 2016, leaving the program without a director until Patrick Jameson took the job in April 2016….