Md. gives green light to new medical pot shops

WASHINGTON — The commission in charge of Maryland’s medical marijuana industry has given the green light to a dozen new dispensaries, allowing them to open their doors and begin selling pot to patients.

There are now 22 dispensaries approved to operate across the state.

“All of the dispensaries are showing great progress,” said Brian Lopez, chairman of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Lopez released new figures at a commission meeting Thursday, saying more than 100 other dispensaries have been preapproved and are working their way through the regulatory process.

It comes just a few weeks after Maryland stores began selling the drug for the first time.

“I want to congratulate everyone for achieving that huge milestone,” said Lopez. “It’s been a lot of work”

Seven dispensaries opened earlier this month, and some were overwhelmed by huge crowds.

The supply at Potomac Holistics in Rockville was depleted in just a couple of days.

“The demand has remained very high,” said owner Bill Askinazi. “Our products have been sold out with minor exception for certain, particular strains.”

That won’t change anytime soon, according to Lopez.

“Product is limited and we would expect that it would continue to be limited through the end of the year and probably through the first quarter of 2018,” he said.

About 10,000 patients are now certified to buy medical marijuana in Maryland.

Patients who want to be certified must first register by filling out a form on the commission’s website. After that, they need to meet in person with a doctor who is also registered with the commission.

More than 700 doctors are currently registered, Lopez said.

According to the commission’s website, doctors typically will provide a certification for “any condition that is severe for which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and if symptoms reasonably can be expected to be relieved by the medical use of cannabis.”

Some of the conditions specified by the commission include severe or chronic pain, nausea, seizures, glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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