The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission expects to have licensed about 70 dispensaries by the end of next month, with hopes to clear the more than 100 pre-approved marijuana retailers for openings by 2019.
The regulatory body for Maryland’s medical marijuana industry awarded preliminary licenses to 102 separate dispensaries in November 2016. Initially, the commission expected the final licensing process to take only a year. Seventeen months later, the body continues to approve only a handful of ready businesses at a time. But the industry is inching ever closer to full initial capacity.
In June, the commission offered final approval to another seven dispensaries throughout the state, including three in Greater Baltimore. Jennifer White, a spokeswoman for the commission, said another 12 or 14 dispensaries are expected to gain final licensure next month. Another 30 or so will remain after that.
If the commission keeps up its current pace — issuing about six licenses on average per month — all the pre-approved dispensaries should be ready to serve the growing cannabis patient population by the end of the year.