A legislative district that includes Takoma Park faces the toughest competition within Maryland to open a medical marijuana dispensary, with 30 prospective operators vying for two spots, according to newly released data.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission on Tuesday released a list of the 811 applications statewide for dispensary licenses. It provides the clearest picture yet of how Maryland’s medical marijuana industry is shaping up.
Unlike clothing and department stores, the medical marijuana business doesn’t abide by traditional market forces. State regulations prohibit more than two dispensaries operating in each of the 47 state Senate districts, each of which represents about 120,000 people.
State regulators hope to award licenses sometime in early 2016, based on reviews by officials at the Regional Economic Studies Institute of Towson University and outside experts, although they caution that the large number of applications could delay the process. Regulators will also award as many as 15 licenses statewide to grow marijuana for medical purposes.
The largest pool of dispensary applicants is in the 20th Senate District, a Montgomery County seat that includes parts of Takoma Park. The community is no stranger to medical marijuana, with the Takoma Wellness Center across the border in Washington.
Regulators received 29 applications to approve licenses in three jurisdictions: Baltimore County’s 42nd District and Baltimore City’s 46th District, as well as the 17th District, which covers Gaithersburg and Rockville. The average number of applications per district is 17.
Some prospective businesses appeared to be trying to boost their chances by applying to open a shop in dozens of districts. Of the 204 individual applicants, half submitted just one application.
The vast majority of applicants said they were based in Maryland, but several companies from Illinois and Arizona also joined the competition.