14 firms in Maryland are now growing or poised to grow legal medical marijuana
After years of delays, lawsuits and other controversy, 14 firms in Maryland are now growing or poised to grow legal medical marijuana, firing up the supply chain for a market that’s expected to reach a quarter billion dollars annually.
The entrepreneurs who were awarded the lucrative licenses to produce the plant have largely stayed out of the limelight as they built multimillion-dollar facilities, fended off legal challenges and raced to get growing before lawmakers could authorize more licenses.
A Baltimore Sun review of state records shows that Maryland’s first legal marijuana cultivators come from a range of backgrounds, drawing on experience in pharmaceuticals, restaurants, nurseries, medicine, real estate, law enforcement and liquor distribution.
Some of the new businesses are run by prominent Maryland businessmen with deep political ties, donors who have contributed heavily to candidates on one or both sides of the aisle. Others operate marijuana companies in other states, and have brought their expertise here. Several are owned by families; one is led by physicians.
“One of the underlying principles of ecology is you need diversity to survive, and you want that in a business ecosystem too,” said Francis J. Priznar, a senior vice president with Arcview Group, a network of cannabis investors. “Some will do better than others, and hopefully lessons learned will spread through the industry.”
Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission relied on the Regional Economic Studies Institute of Towson University to rank the applications. The institute used a double-blind process to rate applicants on a range of criteria, including horticulture experience, security plans and quality of their proposals. The institute produced a list ranking all of the applicants, and the commission picked 15 out of the top 25.
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