Baltimore readers have likely heard that the state of Maryland will soon be launching its medical marijuana program. Last month, state officials began preparing to issue licenses for dispensaries and cultivation centers. The activity comes over two years after medical marijuana was legalized.
Under state regulations, 94 dispensaries are permitted, with two being permitted in each state Senate district. Regulations allow for 15 medical marijuana production facilities. It remains to be seen how the industry will develop, and not everybody is excited about it. Some lawmakers who opposed medical marijuana have raised concerns that the medical marijuana program will result in the proliferation of the drug beyond what the program intends.
State law does not permit counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries and growers unless there are unique circumstances. The possibility that medical marijuana could be kept out of certain counties because of bans has prompted at least one lawmaker to be ready to introduce legislation which would prevent such bans.
As the program gets up and running in coming year and beyond, it will be important for those participating in the industry to know their rights so that they are not unfairly targeted by zealous law enforcement officials and prosecutors. In cases where criminal charges do arise in connection with participation in the program, defendants are advised to work with an experienced criminal law attorney to protect their rights.