Maryland’s medical marijuana system continues to bloom this week, as the state regulators have approved final licenses for eight growing company. The move came Monday, August 14 and many of them say they are ready to begin growing immediately.

Up until this point, there were only one of the 15 original firms given permission to begin growing medical cannabis. While medical marijuana was approved back in 2013, the state has been slow to grant these final permissions.

With over 100 dispensaries planned in the state, the lack of cultivation operations began to trouble many people within the industry. Now, they look forward to greener pastures where the medical system is truly flourishing.

“Now, we have a real industry,” said Cary Millstein, who is the CEO of one of these newly licensed grow operations, Freestate Wellness.

The rest of the growers approved were extremely happy as well. In the government meeting where these were being approved, there was audible excitement as each company was approved to begin building their business.

And they should be excited, the market in Maryland ultimate has the potential to be big business, with estimates as high as $220 million by 2021. This means a lot of people will want to get involved, especially if regulators finally begin to allow the process to happen.

While some firms still believe it may be weeks until they can begin to start producing cannabis, others were chomping at the bit for this approval and will begin churning out product quickly.

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.

“As with any start up industry, you’re bound to have bumps in the road,” Curio CEO Michael Bronfein said in a recent interview.

The eight growers approved Monday join Anne Arundel County-based ForwardGro — the first company to receive a final license — and they represent a wide array of approaches to capitalize on the market.

Some plan to exclusively be wholesalers. Others have launched operations to grow and then process the drug. Others plan to open dispensaries that will sell specially branded products grown and processed in house.

In addition to Freestate Wellness and Temescal, who were previously mentioned, the commission granted final growing licenses to Harvest of Maryland in Washington County, as well as to Green Leaf Medical and HMS Health, which are both in Fredrick County. Grower and processor licenses went to Curio Wellness in Timonium, Holistic in Prince George’s County and Carroll County’s Grassroots of Maryland, a company that has done business as Maryland Compassionate Care and Wellness. Blair Wellness of Worcester County was also approved for a final license to process medical marijuana.

This news also is exciting for the patients waiting to be allowed easy access to the medicine they need. With over 12,000 people already signed up for the medical marijuana program and 400 medical providers able to offer the recommendation, the market is ready.

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