Maryland granted pre-approval to 15 processors and 15 growers in August of 2016. However, there are a number of companies and growers who are petitioning to join a lawsuit which was filed in the Baltimore City Circuit Court. This lawsuit, against the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, has been filed because the companies and growers believe the licensing process was unfair and improper. The 30-approved growers and processors are now in their second stage of the licensing process, undergoing background checks, inspections, and proving financial competency. There’s still a while to go before the majority of these dispensaries open for business and that has sick patients worried. One has to wonder, if Maryland patients were allowed to cultivate their own medicine, then there probably wouldn’t be as many patients who are suffering and waiting for medical marijuana.
Another hot issue is that the majority of the 30 pre-approved processors and growers do not come from a diverse background, with African-American owned businesses overlooked again. Alternative Medicine Maryland—mostly owned by African-Americans—was denied a license by the commission and has already begun a lawsuit to stop the licensing process and mandate racial diversity. Del. Cheryl D. Glenn—the Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus—also expressed that no African-American-majority companies were awarded licenses by the commission and states the lack of oversight is another issue within the commission. Some industry advocates are concerned that all these legal battles taking place in Maryland, though valid, will mean sick patients are left waiting for even longer.