Maryland’s medical marijuana regulators approved final licenses for eight growing companies on Monday, allowing them to start cultivating the drug.
Several companies said they are ready to begin growing immediately, while others say they will take weeks to get started.
“Now, we have a real industry,” said Cary Millstein, CEO of newly licensed grower Freestate Wellness in Howard County.
Until Monday, just one of the 15 selected firms had received final permission to start cultivating medical marijuana, which was first legalized in the state in 2013. Even at full capacity, one firm could not produce nearly enough to support 102 planned dispensaries.
Marijuana industry research group New Frontier estimates Maryland’s market will be worth $221 million annually by 2021.
Millstein whooped as the commission approved his license, the first of several outbursts punctuating an otherwise staid government meeting in Harford County. Members of Temescal Wellness of Maryland’s team fist-bumped — one man danced in his seat and started rapidly texting champagne bottle emojis — as the company’s license to start growing in Baltimore was approved.
Some firms raced to meet Monday’s deadline to become operational.
Curio Wellness of Baltimore County, which also received its license Monday, has been waiting for more than two months for final approval to bring plants into its nine high-tech, climate-controlled growing chambers in a 56,000-square-foot Timonium warehouse. [Read more at The Baltimore Sun]