Maryland's Highest Court Denies Delay of Medical Marijuana Licensing

Maryland's medical marijuana commission can continue to issue licenses for companies to grow the drug. 

Maryland's highest court denied a motion Friday to continue a temporary restraining order that blocked the commission from issuing licenses for about a week, due to a lawsuit against the commission. The court also agreed to hear arguments from finalists to be licensed who contend they should have been allowed to intervene in the lawsuit. The Court of Appeals set a July 27 hearing date. 

"We are gratified by the Court's swift disposition of the restraining order, thus allowing this critically important public health program to proceed," said Alan Rifkin, an attorney representing 13 of the 15 finalists. 

The request to block the issuing of more licenses came from Alternative Medicine, a company that was not named a finalist. The company alleges the commission didn't consider diversity as required by law when naming finalists. Brian Brown, an attorney for Alternative Medicine, said the company hopes the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will wait until the legal case is resolved before issuing any more licenses.

"The commission would be unwise to issue growers' licenses, given that we remain fully confident that we will succeed on the merits under any circumstances, thereby invalidating the medical cannabis licensing process as it was conducted contrary to the law," Brown said. 

Patrick Jameson, the executive director of the commission, said the panel is evaluating the Court of Appeals order and declined to comment.

So far, the commission has only issued one of 15 licenses allowed in the law. That license was issued last month to ForwardGro, which is based in Stevensville.

Maryland's medical marijuana rollout has been bedeviled by setbacks and delays since the state's first law was approved in 2013.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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