Myfoxdc.com reported on a business seminar sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Cannabis Industry Association yesterday to educate entrepreneurs about Maryland’s new medical marijuana law and growing industry.
The law allows state residents suffering from certain qualifying conditions to use marijuana, if recommended by a doctor. It also authorizes 15 licensed marijuana cultivators to operate in the state.
“For many patients we know that this is the best treatment for their conditions,” stated Rachelle Yeung, legislative analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project. “Since Maryland is only issuing 15 growing licenses, competition is fierce. This is a serious business,” she said.
Maryland has rules in place covering banking, product safety, and where dispensaries can be located. Put simply, the medical marijuana business industry will be well regulated and efficient. However, for those looking to operate, it will not be an inexpensive business venture. The overall price — including the $125,000 to get in the business, $40,000 to run a dispensary, and up to $6,000 in application fees — amounts to a little less than $200,000.
According to Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, the high cost helps determine who is serious about entering the medical marijuana industry and financially able to maintain the strictest professional standards. Such requirements were designed by lawmakers to ensure a safe and tightly controlled medical marijuana system, yet there are valid criticisms that they create barriers of entry for poor communities or people who have previously been victimized by the war on marijuana.
Medical marijuana applications for the 15 growing licenses are expected to be collected at the beginning of 2015, and the first patients could start receiving their medication by early 2016.