Over two years after 102 companies were awarded pre-approved licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Maryland, 25 firms have yet to open. Those companies now have until Sept. 30 to get their cannabis businesses up and running, or risk losing their pre-approvals.
Regulators announced during a recent meeting of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) that they are finally setting a “drop dead deadline” for dispensaries to become operational. If the outstanding businesses have not been inspected and secured their final operating licenses by the end of September, the commission may opt to rescind their pre-approvals.
Commissioners hope news of the new deadline will encourage businesses to move forward quickly, so they can begin contributing to, and participating in the state industry. When the pre-approvals were first issued in December 2016, the dispensaries were told they had one year to secure real estate, set up business operations, hire staff, complete the final licensure process and start selling cannabis. Only 22 out of 102 businesses met that deadline. And by the two-year mark, 31 dispensaries remained unlicensed.
As of the end of March, there are 76 dispensaries throughout Maryland fully licensed to sell medical marijuana products produced by the state’s 15 licensed growers and 17 processors.
The commission said at this point, it is not planning to offer any additional dispensary licenses. But if any of the currently pre-approved licensees do not meet the new deadline, the organization may seek applications from a new pool of dispensers to replace them.