Maryland Delays MMJ Licensing Decisions

Maryland will delay announcing the winners of medical cannabis business licenses for an undetermined amount of time, leaving entrepreneurs in a holding pattern and introducing uncertainty into the process.

The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) said it wants more time to review applications “due to the number of submissions received,” adding that it plans to issue an updated timeline “in the near future.”

Previously, the commission had said it would announce license winners in January.

As a result, the industry could launch later than initially planned – which is quite common in new markets.

The delay coincides with an announcement from the commission that Hannah Byron, who led Maryland’s nascent medical marijuana program during its earliest phases of development, will step down Jan. 27.

Byron’s exit as the executive director comes as the medical marijuana program transitions from organization to operation.

In November, the commission received more 1,081 applications for marijuana dispensary, cultivation, processing and testing licenses. The vast majority of applications were for dispensaries.

Byron’s final weeks on the job will be spent working with the Towson University Regional Economic Studies Initiative, the entity tasked with ranking the applications, to develop a revised timeline for the review and scoring, and ultimately for awarding licenses.

There’s no word on when a successor may be named.