Entrepreneurs want to build medical marijuana dispensaries pretty much everywhere in Maryland.
The state's medical marijuana commission on Tuesday released a geographic breakdown of the 811 dispensary applications it received earlier this month – an uptick from preliminary numbers.
Commission officials also said they received more applications to grow marijuana than previously reported - 146 in all for the 15 available licenses. Another 124 applied for an unlimited number of licenses to process marijuana into something the dispensaries can sell, also more than previously reported.
More than a quarter of dispensary applicants proposed building storefronts in Baltimore or Baltimore County, and roughly another third applied to build them in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. The intense interest in those areas, however, does not mean they will be inundated with dispensaries. Only two are allowed in each of the state's 47 legislative districts.
The data released Tuesday represents the closest look yet at the crush of applications to get into the state's nascent medical pot industry. The Medical Cannabis Commission received so many that it delayed its time line for processing them.
At least 89 applied to be in the city, with another 15 in a district that straddles the city-county line. In addition to those, there were 55 more in just two adjacent central Baltimore County districts.
The most licenses sought in a single district were in Takoma Park, where there were 10 applicants for every available license. Other areas with intense interest include 29 in Rockville and 25 in Frederick. The area with the fewest applications – 7 – was Talbot County on the Eastern Shore.
Hannah Byron, the commission's executive director, said a "significant" number of groups applied in every single legislative district. With application fees, that technique cost at minimum $47,000. No applicant can hold more than a single license.
Analysts have said Maryland's medical marijuana program sparked high interest because it broadly defined which patients could access the drug with a physician's recommendation. State officials hoped to get the first recommendation filled by the end of 2016.