The preliminary winners of lucrative licenses to grow and process medical marijuana in Maryland will be announced Aug. 15, more than a week after a state commission selects the highest-ranked applications.
Maryland's medical cannabis commission is scheduled to publicly review and recommend the highest-ranked applications Aug.5. But since all identifying information about the applicants has been redacted, applicants and the public will not know the identity of the preliminary winners until 10 days later.
Those selected will undergo another round of reviews and inspections before the licenses are granted. Then it will be another six months before the drug is available to patients.
Officials say wide interest in Maryland's medical marijuana program has delayed its launch. They say they were inundated last fall with nearly four times as many applications as anticipated.
Since December, a team has been reviewing the crush of applications: 146 for the 15 available grower licenses, 811 for the 94 possible dispensary licenses and 124 applications to be a processor. Preliminary approval that was originally expected by February will be granted in August.
Analysts say Maryland's medical marijuana industry is particularly attractive to investors.
State lawmakers limited the number of competitors in the market but approved a broad base of potential customers that include patients from outside Maryland and those being treated by a wide range of medical professionals, including dentists and podiatrists.
The Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission will select 15 growers and 15 processors to receive preliminary approval. More processors are expected to be approved at a later date, as are applicants for dispensary licenses.
The applications have been evaluated by a panel convened by Towson University's Regional Economic Studies Institute.