Maryland dispensary candidates will learn their fate soon

Applicants for Maryland’s medical marijuana dispensary licenses will soon know whether they won or lost.

The Maryland Cannabis Commission has announced that winners of preliminary licenses will be chosen Nov. 28 but won’t be revealed to the public until Dec. 9.

It’s a welcome step in a process that started with and still holds huge market potential, though it has been mired in delays and controversy.

The commission announced the winners of 15 cultivator and 15 processor preliminary licenses in August, and the results were expected in September. But the announcement was delayed and the commission has come under fire because the winners are not owned or led by minorities. Also, three applicants are suing the commission for mismanagement after being bumped from the original group of winners and replaced by applicants in geographic areas the commission said were underrepresented with grow businesses.

Under Maryland’s medical cannabis law, there can be as many as two dispensaries in each of the 47 senatorial districts, while each of the 15 cultivation winners can also operate a dispensary. More than 800 applicants sought one of the state’s 109 potential dispensary licenses.