Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has tapped a former state trooper and Republican political candidate as Maryland’s top medical marijuana regulator.
Patrick Jameson started Monday as executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, a spokesman for Hogan said.
Jameson served with the Maryland State Police between 1987 and 1999 in the special operations and white collar crime divisions, earning a master’s degree in business administration from Johns Hopkins University and serving as a police union officer, according to Hogan’s office and news reports. He’s returning to government work after spending more than a decade in the private sector, including as a homeland security director for the technology giant Oracle and principal of a management consulting firm.
Jameson unsuccessfully sought office in Anne Arundel County, running as a Republican candidate for county sheriff in 2010 and applying for county executive in 2013. He included eliminating drugs in his 2010 platform.
His appointment comes at a critical time for the Medical Cannabis Commission, which is managing a deluge of applications from businesses seeking licenses to grow, process and sell medical marijuana. Repeated delays in the program means it will likely not be available to consumers until 2017.
The applications are under review by experts hired by the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University. After the applications are scored and ranked, the state commission is scheduled this summer to award licenses, which are capped at 15 for growers and 94 for dispensers.
Law enforcement officials have had mixed reactions to the prospect of legal cannabis sales in the communities they police. In Jameson’s home county, Anne Arundel, the sheriff and state’s attorney supported the county executive’s failed attempt to ban the burgeoning industry. Elsewhere, local authorities focused on battling opioid epidemics have shrugged at medical marijuana.
The cannabis commission’s previous director, Hannah Byron, left in January after a long career in state government.