More medical marijuana dispensaries open in Maryland

A little more than three months since the first few medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors, more than 30 cannabis outlets have opened in Maryland.

The 34 dispensaries are maintaining regular hours and are located in all corners of the state, according to a review by The Baltimore Sun. They are in a dozen counties and Baltimore City, with five more dispensaries licensed but not yet open in five jurisdictions.

There are 102 dispensaries approved by the state.

“The inspections of the additional dispensaries are continuing,” according to Jennifer White, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Montgomery County has the most dispensaries open with nine, followed by Howard and Baltimore counties, with five each.

This is up from the six that opened in early December, when they all reported a shortage of products and three closed temporarily because of those supply problems or technical glitches.

With a majority in the state supporting medical marijuana, most operations have opened with little notice, though a few have opened too close to homes and schools for some residents’ comfort.

Curaleaf in Reisterstown is among the latest to open and is getting the welcome mat: The local Chamber of Commerce plans a ribbon-cutting on Friday for Curaleaf, though the dispensary, which is part of a larger enterprise with retail shops in several other states, had a soft opening late last week.

Trey Hughes, the dispensary’s manager, said he hopes to run the place like an old-fashioned local pharmacy where the staff welcomes regulars and helps newcomers with their needs.

“I’m from Mississippi originally and we still have old-school pharmacies there where you can get chocolate malt or soda, so I’m used to that experience,” he said. “I try and bring that to dispensary management.”

Hughes said that kind of connection was missing when he worked in finance, so he gave up his job years ago and moved to Colorado, where he eventually landed at a dispensary. He said he felt a passion for helping people understand the products that might be able to help them with their ailments.

With recreational marijuana taking a strong hold in that state and many customers no longer wanting much guidance, he moved to Maryland to again be part of an emerging market where he could offer help with people’s “journeys.”

The dispensary plans educational opportunities, including a seminar for customers just on accessories and another on how to make edible cannabis items, which are not allowed to be sold in the state. Staff also will help people register with the state, a requirement along with a recommendation for medical cannabis from a registered doctor or other medical provider.

There are now 27,889 registered patients and 763 medical providers, though not all are doctors, according to the state commission.

Hughes said he hopes that personal service will differentiate Curaleaf from other dispensaries operating nearby.

Others are trying to do the same.

Curio Wellness in Timonium, another to open recently, is also among the half dozen or so dispensaries that were granted licenses after having been awarded licenses to grow cannabis.

The shop will be run as a “wellness” operation, with other services including yoga, acupuncture and massage. It also will sell other natural health and beauty products. Health-related workshops and support groups also are planned.

“The array of services offered by Curio Wellness make this store much more than just a medical cannabis dispensary,” said Brian Sanderoff, a pharmacist who is managing the Curio Wellness dispensary and formerly hosted a radio show about alternative medicine. “Patients who come through our doors will receive truly holistic and individualized health care, with medical cannabis being just one aspect of that.”

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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