Some states have had a harder (and much slower) time than others when it comes to getting their medical marijuana programs up and running, and for Maryland things are finally starting to fall into place. After more than three years the state is finally preparing to accept applications from patients and caregivers who qualify for medical marijuana under the state’s laws. The process will start by dividing up application periods by patients’ last names, with A-L being open to applications this week, and M-Z starting next week. It won’t be until April 24th before they are open to accepting applications from anyone who missed this first opportunity.
“We’re doing a phased rollout,” said Shannon Moore, one of the members of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “The system is all online.”
The application process starts online, and all patients and caregivers (for anyone who cannot pick up the medicine themselves, and required for anyone under the age of 18) need to fill out the application with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Once they fill out that application, if it is approved, they will have an in-person meeting with a doctor who is licensed under the state to recommend medical marijuana. If the doctor believes that it will help them – and that other treatments are ineffective – then the patient will receive the written recommendation to purchase medical cannabis from state licensed dispensaries.
“There is no legal medical cannabis available at this time, but we will have it this summer we anticipate,” Moore said.
Unfortunately, right now there are no licensed dispensaries that are up and running in Maryland – meaning that even once patients get their doctor’s recommendation they will not yet be able to purchase and medicate with medical cannabis. The state has issued pre-approval to growers and dispensers, but since there are no plants in the ground yet, the soonest there will be medical marijuana available to patients will be the end of this summer.
Hopefully these businesses are able to get things together – and the state won’t have any more delays – in order to get patients their medicine as soon as possible. Unfortunately, a pending court case over the licenses has been preventing things from moving forward before now – but we can only hope that there won’t be any further delays and the businesses that were approved will be able to start growing and dispensing medical cannabis as soon as possible. Until then, at least patients can finally find out if they qualify, and get ready to be able to access the medicine as soon as becomes available.