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US (MD): MMCC announces grower and processor license preapprovals

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) awarded Stage One preapproval for licensure to three (3) grower and eight (8) processor applicants. These applicants received preapprovals following a competitive application process in which MMCC received more than 200 grower and processor applications.

“The Maryland General Assembly tasked the Commission with addressing disparities in the medical cannabis industry and to encourage diverse applicants to apply for licenses,” said MMCC Chair Brian Lopez. We’re pleased to welcome these new businesses, who set themselves apart in a highly competitive application process. Their expertise and diversity will help make Maryland’s medical cannabis program the best in the nation.”

Stage One Preapproved Applicants Preapproved Growers

  • Viola Maryland, Inc. - Disadvantaged Ownership: 55.9% - Minority and Women Ownership: 100%
  • Herbiculture Cultivation, Inc. - Disadvantaged Ownership: 100% - Minority and Women Ownership: 100%
  • MAS Alliance, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 54.12% - Minority and Women Ownership: 70.52%

Preapproved Processors

  • Herbiculture Manufacturing, Inc. - Disadvantaged Ownership: 100% - Minority and Women Ownership: 100%
  • Organic Remedies MD, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 54% - Minority and Women Ownership: 100%
  • Bouquet Labs, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 77.75% - Minority and Women Ownership: 90.25%
  • Element MD, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 51% - Minority and Women Ownership: 97.75%
  • AHI Group, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 59% - Minority and Women Ownership: 72%
  • Ceres Naturals, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 99% - Minority and Women Ownership: 100%
  • Marileaves Extractions, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 88.5% - Minority and Women Ownership: 100%
  • Greener Good, LLC - Disadvantaged Ownership: 66.67% - Minority and Women Ownership: 66.67%

The awards follow two independent reviews related to the 2019 license application process. The first investigation, conducted by Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, looked into allegations of undue influence and/or bias in the application review process. The second review, conducted by Verity, LLC, reviewed the accuracy and truthfulness of disadvantaged minority and women ownership claims made by high-ranking grower and processor applicants.

The Commission adopted detailed factual findings regarding the accuracy and truthfulness of ownership claims made by high-ranking applicants, including any representations that ownership interests were held by disadvantaged minority and women owners. These findings considered both information provided by the independent investigator, as well as deliberations by and among the Commission membership. The Commission also voted to adopt the findings from the independent investigation into the 2019 application review process conducted by Zuckerman Spaeder, which found no evidence of bias or undue influence in the application review performed by Morgan State University and MMCC staff (full report available here).

Based on a review of each of these investigations, and the underlying application materials and supporting documentation, including financial and organizational documents, the Commission voted to award Stage One preapproval for licensure to three (3) grower and eight (8) processor applicants. The Commission also denied several high-ranking applicants who were found not to meet the criteria for award, including one applicant that the Commission also found to be ineligible for a license as a result of an impermissible association with Morgan State University.

Following the awards, the Commission may still award up to one (1) additional grower license and two (2) additional processor licenses. The Commission will continue to work with Verity to review the next highest-ranking applicants--from the rankings that the Commission voted to adopt in September 2019--to determine whether they meet the requisite criteria to receive a Stage One preapproval.

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