Maryland regulators have allowed the state's first medical marijuana dispensary to open its doors immediately even though the drug will not be available for months.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved the license for the Wellness Institute of Maryland on Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun reports. The first crop is not expected to be ready until after Labor Day, but owner Michael Kline says the company will take "pre-orders" Thursday.
According to Kline, patients have to register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission before seeing a doctor. Instead of a prescription, the doctor gives patients a recommendation.
"That recommendation in effect says some people some of the time have received some benefit from medical cannabis for symptoms similar to yours," Kline said.
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins visited the dispensary on Friday.
"You know, I don't agree with it, but, you know, my thoughts aside - it's going to happen. It's going to be here so we are concerned about security aspects, about traffic coming to and from that facility," Jenkins said.
A year ago, the commission awarded 15 preliminary growing licenses and 15 preliminary processing licenses. If those firms are not granted final licenses by Aug. 15, the commission could revoke the companies' opportunity to work in Maryland.
The commission's Executive Director Patrick Jameson says the commission plans to approve more licenses after each applicant undergoes a final state inspection.