Maryland marijuana regulators approved this week the opening of seven new medical marijuana dispensaries, including two in Baltimore.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission granted final approval for the seven dispensaries and for a new processor at its most recent meeting on Tuesday.
The new dispensaries in Baltimore are ReLeaf Shop, which is opening April 20 at 1114 Cathedral Street in Midtown-Belvedere, and Culta, which plans to open at 215 Key Highway in Federal Hill.
Other newly licensed dispensaries include RISE-Joppa in Harford County, Rise Bethesda and HerbaFi in Montgomery County, Medleaf in Prince George's County and Dispensary Works in Charles County.
There are now nearly 50 dispensaries licensed across the state, almost half of the 102 that the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has approved.
Maryland's medical marijuana program has been slow to get off the ground since the General Assembly created it in 2012. Licensed companies were allowed to begin sending medical cannabis to dispensaries in December, and since then, the dispensaries have been building up their inventories and opening across the state.
About 28,000 patients are registered with the cannabis commission to buy medical marijuana products from the several dozen dispensaries that have opened.
The marijuana business was among the top topics of debate in this year's Maryland General Assembly session.
Lawmakers approved a compromise to help minority-owned firms gain a foothold in the budding industry, and also create a "compassionate use fund" to help people who want to use marijuana to ease pain but can't afford it and are on Medicaid or veterans benefits.