After the legalization of medical marijuana in Maryland, hundreds of individuals and businesses are now lining up to be part of the ever growing cannabis industry. Those looking to participate in the industry include former sheriffs, police, DEA agents, lawmakers and football players to rich executives, well-connected political donors, a rabbi and a pastor. Almost 150 businesses have applied for a grower’s license yet only 15 licenses are up for grabs. Processing licenses will be distributed to 15 of the 128 businesses that applied. 811 have applied to open dispensaries but only 94 of these applicants will be chosen to receive a license.
Relaxed Regulations and High Stakes
The stakes are high for applicants, as marijuana sales continue to increase across the country. The multimillion dollar industry has drawn the attention of a wide range of people, all hoping that their business is one of those selected. It is expected that the Maryland marijuana industry will resemble Arizona’s which allows for a very wide variety of conditions to be treated using medical marijuana. In February, lawmakers even voted to allow dentists, nurses and other practitioners to be allowed to recommend cannabis; not just doctors. With relaxed regulations like these, great profits are predicted. Arizona made $200 million in medicinal marijuana sales last year.
Prospectsof Maryland Marijuana for Recreational Purposes
All those approved to join the Maryland marijuana industry, will have a prime position should recreational marijuana become legal. Many involved in the application process, already have their eyes on the recreational cannabis prize. Total sales for medical and recreational marijuana sales in Colorado reached close to $1 billion last year. Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Colorado and D.C., have already legalized marijuana for recreational use and 6 more states, including California and Nevada are voting on whether to legalize recreational use this November. The state of Maryland may follow this trend in the coming years.
Unlikely Supporters of Medical Marijuana
A surprising number of law enforcement and military officials who spent careers as soldiers in the war on drugs have given up their previous work and beliefs in favor of advocating medical cannabis and joining the marijuana industry. Many began advocating for medical marijuana after witnessing a loved one receive medical treatment and relief using marijuana. Pastor Gareth E. Murray, who has become an investor in the cannabis industry, also changed his mind about marijuana after listening to cancer patients and watching documentaries about medical marijuana. Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn, who has been a longtime supporter of the benefits of medical marijuana, applied to open his own dispensary.
While some are passionate believers in the benefits of medical marijuana, there are others that see the great potential for earning money. Business executives and entrepreneurs recognize the financial potential involved in participating in this booming industry. Out-of-state businesses have also thrown their hat in to become part of the Maryland marijuana industry. The first year of medical marijuana sales is expected to be 2017 as all the infrastructure for business is established. Maryland is one of 25 states around the country that has legalized medical marijuana. The financial and medicinal benefits now stand to serve the state, beginning next year.