- Associated Press - Thursday, November 12, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A large number of applications to grow or dispense medical marijuana in Maryland will delay the program’s rollout, the executive director of a state commission said Thursday.

The commission announced it received 882 applications for grower, processor and dispenser licenses by a Nov. 6 deadline. Hannah Byron, the executive director of the Maryland medical Cannabis Commission, said the panel will extend the application review period and modify the timeline. The commission had estimated the first stage of the application review would be complete by mid-January.

“The commission will provide an updated program schedule in the near future,” Byron said.

Byron also said the high number of applications will ensure the commission has a strong pool of qualified candidates and that the program will be self-funded, as intended by the Legislature.

Most of the applications, about 705, were for dispenser licenses. However, the numbers were driven higher, because a significant number of people applied for a dispensary license in all 47 state Senate districts, when they can only receive one license.

A total of 102 grower license applications were received. There were 75 applications for processor licenses.

After a comprehensive review of applications, the commission will award a maximum of 15 licenses for marijuana growers. It also will decide on up to two dispensary licenses in each of the state’s 47 Senate districts. Processer licenses are not limited.

Maryland has had earlier setbacks in getting its medical marijuana program running. The state enacted a law in 2013. It required academic medical centers to run the programs, but none stepped forward. The law was changed last year to allow certified doctors to recommend marijuana for patients with debilitating, chronic and severe illnesses.

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