Maryland OKs 102 preliminary medical marijuana licenses

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Maryland’s medical cannabis board on Monday finally approved 102 dispensaries for preliminary licenses.

The Maryland Cannabis Commission said it employed a Nobel Prize-winning algorithm to help filter out the candidates from a field of more than 800 license applications.

It has been a slow process for entrepreneurs eager to get involved in what looks to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets on the East Coast, with the first round of 15 growers and processors having been approved in August.

The Maryland Cannabis Commission said it won’t make public the names of Monday’s license winners until Dec. 9. The commission is aiming for summer 2017 to issue final licenses.

Monday’s licensing announcement was made on the same day the commission announced it would hire a consultant to improve diversity in Maryland’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry.

That announcement comes in response to calls to halt the licensing process because nearly all the licenses so far have gone to white males.