ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The first specialty clinic for medical marijuana opened in Annapolis in June and has seen more than 100 prospective patients — even though the Maryland Medical Cannabis Program isn’t expected to be operational for another year.
Greenway Consultation, located in the Conte Lubrano Office Building, has three consultants and three physicians, who are not yet registered to recommend the drug through the Maryland Medical Cannibis Commission. The commission develops and oversees all licensing, registration, inspection and testing.
The clinic’s spokesman Nick Petrucci said opening in advance of the program has advantages, such as beginning to build the patient-doctor relationship to expedite a recommendation for marijuana when the program begins.
The commission requires physicians to examine the patient, review and maintain medical records, assess his or her medical history and provide follow-up care, as needed.
Cannabis program regulations were to be under public comment until July 27 and the commission expects to adopt them in September. It also anticipates doctor and patient registries through the state to begin in December or January.
“All the laws have been approved,” Petrucci said. “Every doctor that we are associated with, we meet those (drafted) guidelines. The worst case scenario is if there were adjustments to the regulations, (doctors) would simply follow those requirements.”
Judy Pentz, executive director of the state’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a nonprofit that advocates for the legalization of the drug, said the clinic asked for the organization’s support but she was hesitant.
“They should not be charging money yet for a program that has not been implemented,” she said. “I’m very concerned.”
Hannah Byron, executive director of the commission, said it supports the dissemination of accurate information about medical cannabis in Maryland, which is a goal of Greenway Consultation. The business plans to host monthly meetings at which dispensaries, grow sites, botanical grow stores, hydroponic shops and head shops will be invited to speak and hold education demonstrations.
“It is important for potential patients to recognize the program’s regulations are not yet finalized and that only licensed physicians in good standing with the state will be authorized to certify patients for medical cannabis use once the program becomes operational,” Byron said.
The commission expects that medical cannabis could become available in the second half of 2016 and will begin accepting applications for growers, processors and dispensaries in mid-October to November of this …Read More