US (MD): Dearth of medical cannabis licenses concerns full legalization advocates

A proposed expansion into adult-use cannabis could be hampered by a limit on licenses in the medical cannabis industry.

The issue of licenses is expected to be a flashpoint as lawmakers consider the growth of the legal cannabis industry. All but one available medical cannabis license in Maryland has been issued.

Ensuring adequate supply and prices that won’t be undercut by the black market present a challenge. Maryland has already seen high demand for the medical product. Existing growers and processors will likely want to move into an expanded market. The expansion is similar to the legalization of sports betting that so far has benefited the established players in the industry — casinos and other existing gaming facilities — as newcomers and minority groups hope to claim a piece of the action.

In the medical cannabis industry, additional licenses probably are needed. “Our hands are very much tied when it comes to trying to further facilitate equity in the industry because there’s no licenses we have the ability to award,” Will Tilburg, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, told the Senate Finance Committee.

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