The man who presided over the turbulent launch of Maryland’s medical marijuana industry resigned Thursday.
Patrick Jameson, a former state trooper who took over as executive director of the Medical Cannabis Commission in April 2016, will stay in his job until the end of the month.
Jameson said in a statement that “the time has come for me to pursue other interests.” He did not respond to a request for further comment.
He is the second executive director to resign from the commission in as many years. Despite being legalized in 2013, the medical marijuana industry has been slow to get off the ground.
Jameson’s departure will come days before a Dec. 8 deadline for dispensaries to gain approval to open. More than 95 dispensaries must be operating by that date or they could lose their opportunity to launch their businesses.
He took over the commission while it was reviewing more than 1,000 applications to obtain one of the potentially lucrative licenses to grow, process or dispense the drug. The process by which the commission picked winners has been subject to racially charged controversy, under scrutiny by state lawmakers and picked apart in two continuing lawsuits.
Maryland Policy & Politics Newsletter
Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.
This summer, Gov. Larry Hogan replaced 10 of the 16 members of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission and named a new chairman.
Chairman Brian Lopez said he wished Jameson well and that the commission had been pleased by his work. Commissioners did not request Jameson’s resignation, Lopez said.
“We think he worked very hard, and we think he did some very good things with the commission to make it more efficient,” Lopez said.
Lopez said inspectors are reviewing the final stage of approval for 40 of the more than 100 dispensaries selected to launch the industry. He added that, “we believe that the tone of the commission is changing.”
Jake Van Wingerden, owner of marijuana grower SunMed Growers and chairman of a trade group representing Maryland marijuana wholesalers, released a statement wishing Jameson well. Van Wingerden said the businesses hope to get the drug into the hands of patients as soon as possible.