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Maryland marijuana panel approves ban on cannabis advertising on billboards, radio, TV and other media

12/6/18--The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission voted unanimously Thursday to ban billboard, radio, TV, and most online advertising by marijuana companies — a move that representatives for the firms said they would fight in the General Assembly when it convenes next month. The new rules also prohibit advertising in print publications such as newspapers and magazines that cannot prove that 85 percent of their audience is over 18 years old, and bans the use of leaflets or flyers in most public and private places. Read

Medical marijuana sales in Maryland set to blow through one expert forecast, reach $100 million

11/21/18--Sales of medical marijuana in Maryland this year are surpassing projections from one of the cannabis industry’s leading market research firms. New Frontier Data forecast last year — before Maryland’s market kicked off last December — that the state’s 2018 sales would be $46 million. However, sales have been $67 million, according to the latest data from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Read

Md. marijuana recall: ForwardGro products ordered off the shelves, commission won’t say why

10/28/18--The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission issued an “administrative hold” on all products using marijuana grown by ForwardGro, which operates a large greenhouse in Lothian, in Anne Arundel County. The hold, communicated to the state’s 69 dispensaries on Oct. 7, was described as a “precautionary measure.” The commission ordered sellers to “quarantine” ForwardGro products, adding: “Follow up instructions will be forthcoming in the future.” Read

Medical marijuana commission alerts patients to how best to report negative reactions

8/11/18--An email from a medical marijuana dispensary owner alerting patients to a state investigation into whether a Maryland cannabis grower used pesticides and warning them of possible harmful side effects has spurred concern throughout the young industry. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission took issue with the email in an online bulletin from executive director Joy A. Strand, who stated that the notification was “not accurate.” Read

Md. lawmakers hear arguments for, against putting marijuana legalization on Nov. ballot

3/13/18--Medical marijuana is being prescribed and steps have been taken to decriminalize it, but with thousands of Marylanders still being prosecuted for marijuana offenses, the Marijuana Policy Project says it’s time to put it to a vote. On the ballot, Marylanders would decide whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use, allowing adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce. The House Judiciary Committee heard pros and cons Tuesday. Read

Friday appears to be the day medical marijuana will go on sale in Maryland

12/2/17--Maryland’s medical marijuana is set to go on sale bringing relief to patients who have waited nearly five years for access to the drug — and have hundreds of dollars available to pay for it. Dispensaries were scheduled to receive the first pot shipment on Friday, and at least two out of 10 licensed stores planned to open their doors to patients later that day. They are Potomac Holistics in Rockville and Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Cumberland, near the Pennsylvania border. Read

University of Maryland pharmacy school cancels plans to train medical marijuana workers

9/18/17--After consulting with the Maryland attorney general’s office, the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy canceled plans to offer training for those who work in the medical marijuana industry amid legal concerns. The classes, initially scheduled to start in August, offered basic and advanced certifications in areas including cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing, laboratory standards, and assessment. It’s unclear whether the courses might be offered in the future. Read

Maryland is mired in a medical-marijuana morass

8/8/17--Three years after Maryland's medical marijuana program was approved, the state’s legal pot program is still earthbound. It is not only the listless pace the program is moving in but also the signs of self-dealing and shady connections that have given the project a scent of mismanagement and corruption. Read

Maryland’s highest court rules in medical marijuana case

7/28/17--Finalists seeking licenses to grow medical marijuana in the state can defend their interests in a legal challenge over how they were chosen, Maryland's highest court ruled Friday. The Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that barred the finalists from involvement in the case. Read

Judge temporarily halts Maryland medical marijuana industry

5/25/17--Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams put Maryland's medical marijuana industry temporarily on hold Thursday, granting the request of a company that alleged state regulators illegally ignored racial diversity when picking firms to grow the drug. Judge said the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission is not permitted to grant any additional marijuana licenses for 10 days. He will decide after a June 2 hearing whether to extend that ban until the conclusion of a lawsuit that asks for the entire application process to begin anew. Read

Md. gets its first licensed medical marijuana grower

5/18/17--Maryland has given its first go-ahead to ForwardGro to grow medical marijuana. ForwardGro is the first of 15 companies vying for growing rights, and Maryland now joins 20 other states where medical marijuana is legal to use. More than 6,000 Marylanders have registered to use medical marijuana, and 275 doctors have registered to recommend the drug. Read

Marijuana is becoming more potent, but also more popular, UMD study says

4/27/17--While the number of people who view marijuana as posing "no risk" increases, highly potent forms of the drug are becoming more common, which may cause greater negative effects, according to a 2017 report by the University of Maryland's public health school. The study claims using higher-potency marijuana carries a higher risk of negative outcomes, such as "cognitive problems, underachievement in school, and risk for dependence, especially for youth," compared to traditional forms of marijuana. Read

The medical cannabis doctor is in, in Westminster

4/22/17--According to Dr. Paul Davies, chairman of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, cannabis is expected to be in the hands of Maryland patients by the end of the summer. However, those who have followed Maryland's efforts to provide access to legal medical cannabis may take Davies' optimism with a grain of salt, yet there are fairly concrete signs that medical cannabis is truly imminent this time around. Read

Black caucus issues ‘ultimatum’ on medical marijuana

4/12/17--The Legislative Black Caucus stepped up its demand for a special General Assembly session to address a lack of diversity in the medical marijuana industry, saying that failure to do so would effectively shut out African-Americans from a lucrative business. If the leaders refuse, the 51-member caucus will not cooperate with Democratic leaders, caucus chair Del. Cheryl Glenn said. Read

What’s wrong with medical marijuana?

4/2/17--According to Troy Daily News Christina contributing columnist Ryan Claypool, when it comes to medical marijuana, most individuals, herself included, are sympathetic believing that anyone facing a terminal illness or experiencing debilitating pain should have access to any substance that could alleviate their suffering. Nevertheless, she believes the benefits are vastly unproven, and the risks to the overall community appear glaringly real giving the fact that the drug will surely be resold illegally. Read

Pot laws under scrutiny in Maryland General Assembly

3/5/17--Legalization of recreational marijuana is getting a full airing in the Maryland legislature this week. Lawmakers and advocates pushing to authorize sales of the drug for general use believe that a robust debate this year will put them in a good position for next year’s legislative session, when they are planning an all-out effort to get the Democratic-majority General Assembly to either legalize the drug or approve putting the issue to voters as a ballot question. Read

Senate holds marijuana legalization hearing

3/4/17--Supporters and detractors alike gathered in Annapolis to testify about two marijuana legalization bills being heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Thursday afternoon. Both bills would allow for the legalization of the use, possession, transportation, sale, and cultivation of marijuana in the state. Read

Medical marijuana: Black lawmakers push for diversity

1/30/17--Leaders of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland have introduced legislation to restructure a burgeoning medical marijuana industry that has come under scrutiny for a lack of racial diversity. Bills introduced would change the membership of the 16-person Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to better reflect the diversity of the state, while requiring the agency to rescore applications for cultivation licenses and give extra weight for black-owned businesses. Read

Lawmakers propose revamping Maryland medical marijuana panel

1/30/17--State lawmakers are pushing to revamp the Maryland’s medical cannabis commission and award additional licenses to prospective growers, processors, and dispensaries in hopes of getting more minority-owned businesses involved in the fledgling industry. Two bills backed by the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland would make major changes to the state’s cannabis program. Read

Maryland General Assembly ethics committee hires special counsel

1/20/17--The General Assembly ethics committee that's investigating Del. Dan K. Morhaim's work with a medical cannabis company has hired a lawyer to assist with the review. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who on Friday disclosed the hiring of the special counsel, said the action underscores the serious nature of the investigation. Read

Maryland Black Caucus looks to overhaul the state cannabis commission

1/13/17--The Maryland Black Caucus laid out their priorities for the 2017 General Assembly session, including diversifying the medical cannabis industry, eliminating the cash bail system, and reforming education. The caucus members outlined their plan to draft legislation that would encourage minority-owned businesses in Maryland’s long-awaited medical marijuana industry. Read

Is the murder spike in PG Co. linked to Maryland’s new marijuana decriminalization laws?

1/8/17--For the second year in a row, the number of murders in Prince George’s County has increased. While the largest single category of homicide is domestic violence, drugs are a close second. Chief of Police Hank Stawinski is drawing a link to Maryland’s decriminalization of marijuana as the cause. Read

Some Maryland companies engaging in MMJ scams

12/28/16--Scammers are trying to take advantage of Maryland’s new medical marijuana program by offering patients phony pre-approvals and bogus MMJ cards, which could create an air of mistrust around the state’s emerging cannabis industry. The state reportedly has already received some 20 inquiries regarding suspect claims from so-called cannabis businesses. Read

Fake medical marijuana cards and services flood Maryland

12/27/16--Reports of sketchy medical marijuana cards and pre-approval services gravely worry industry officials, as neither service is a legitimate practice in Maryland. A wave of scammers are taking advantage of those that are sick and desperate to find access to medical marijuana. At least 20 cases of possible marijuana business scams have been reported according to Vanessa Lyon, spokesman for the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Read

List of pre-approved marijuana dispensaries announced

12/10/16--A state panel has given preliminary approval to companies to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Maryland. Out of 811 applicants, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved 102 companies to begin the process of operating a dispensary to sell marijuana to patients for medical purposes only. Read

Leader of Maryland’s black lawmakers outraged by medical marijuana plan

11/18/16--The leader of the General Assembly's black caucus was outraged that medical marijuana regulators plan to choose companies to dispense the drug while the state's selection process is mired in controversy. Black lawmakers felt they already had grounds for a civil rights fight because firms owned by African-Americans did not win any of the 15 preliminary licenses to grow marijuana. The decision to issue preliminary licenses for dispensaries before addressing that problem drew Baltimore Del. Cheryl Glenn's rebuke. Read

Few doctors sign on to recommend medical marijuana in Maryland

11/14/16--Just 1 percent of the 16,000 doctors who treat patients in Maryland have signed up for the state's medical marijuana program, and two of the largest hospital systems in the state have banned their physicians from participating. The lack of enthusiasm threatens to undermine the fledgling program by limiting access to the drug that has shown promise in easing pain and other severe conditions. Read

Third cannabis firm to sue Maryland medical marijuana regulators

11/2/16--Alternative Medicine Maryland was denied a license to grow Maryland medical marijuana and has filed a lawsuit against state cannabis regulators alleging that they didn’t follow a law calling for racial diversity in the potentially lucrative industry. The suit asks a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge to halt the burgeoning medical marijuana program until the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission takes action to ensure racial and ethnic diversity among licensed growers. Read

Patients still waiting, 900-plus days after state changed law

10/14/16--It has been more than 900 days since former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed the bill legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Dispensaries are anticipated to open by next summer, but legal fights with the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission over licenses to grow the plant has many concerned that access will keep patients waiting longer. Read

Top lobbyist represents winner of controversial medical marijuana license

10/3/16--Holistic Industries LLC, represented by top-earning lobbyist Gerard E. Evans, was awarded a lucrative Maryland marijuana-growing license after a state commission pulled it from the ranks of losers and gave it a winning slot. Holistic was originally ranked too low to receive one of 15 state growing licenses, but members of the state's Medical Cannabis Commission reconsidered an earlier vote. Read

Company that didn’t win medical marijuana license sues state commission

9/20/16--Bethesda-based GTI Maryland was bumped out of the running for one of Maryland's lucrative medical marijuana grower licenses. The company is suing the state commission that issues the permits, throwing the already delayed program into further uncertainty. Read

Medical marijuana chair to meet with attorney general

9/6/16--The chairman of Maryland's medical marijuana commission is meeting with Maryland's attorney general to discuss diversity concerns in the state's marijuana licensing process. Read