MD: First Medical Marijuana License Issued To Anne Arundel County Company

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Ron Strider

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First medical marijuana license issued to Anne Arundel County company. ForwardGro, based in Anne Arundel County, could make medicine available to patients this fall, but a number of outside forces might put the brakes on the process.

Barry Considine, who self-medicates with marijuana, goes through a quiet routine several times a day. He said it eases pain caused by a form of polio, the effects of a stroke and a heart condition.

"It helps me sleep through the night," Considine said. "During the day, (I take a) smaller quantity that just keeps the muscles from cramping."

He has been in the trenches for a decade, pushing the state to legalize the use of medical marijuana, and that day is finally here.

"This is a big step forward," Considine said. "We know what we are doing with it. We know what kind of cannabis to give patients for cancer, and we know what kind of cannabis to give patients for pain, and we know what kind of cannabis to give for seizures."

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission voted unanimously to issue the first license to grow medical marijuana to ForwardGro, but there is now concern over two lawsuits and a call for a special session to make sure licenses go to minority owners.

How the commission awarded licenses is the target of two lawsuits.

Alternative Medicine Maryland is seeking a temporary restraining order on the process to address why the panel ignored its legislatively mandated duty to actively seek racial, ethnic and geographic diversity when licensing medical cannabis growers.

Geographic diversity is the official reason why GTI got bumped out of the running for a license. Its lawsuit accuses two members of providing contradictory statements about how the 4-1 decision was made.

Judge Barry Williams ruled last week that the state must turn over a copy of the dissenting opinion of one of the commission members.

Further complicating the licensing process is the potential for a special legislative session to pass a bill expanding the number of licenses and ensuring minority participation.

The original bill that died on the last day of the session put GTI back in the running, and put the House and Senate at odds. The firm's CEO is now telling lawmakers to take it out so they can get on with a special session, which could come after a license disparity study is completed in June.

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Full Article: First medical marijuana license issued to Anne Arundel County company
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