Cannabis Commission’s Policy Committee Meeting; Maryland Dispensary Shake-Ups

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The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) Policy Committee meeting from last week went deep on the complicated ins and outs of testing that even members of the committee were still wrapping their heads around. Primarily, this was about the ongoing development of a technical authority for testing medicinal cannabis and all that it entails.

“The technical authority is not an easy read, I understand that,” Lori Dodson, Deputy Director/ Laboratory Compliance of MMCC referring to the 26-page document.

Dodson went on to characterize some of the complexities of cannabis, and science, which is always changing which means regulations are often barely catching up.

“This industry moves very, very quickly. The science is behind in terms of the pace of the industry and regulations lag behind the science. And so what we really want to do with the technical authority, what it’s purpose is, is to be a living document that allows Maryland’s testing program to continually evolve,” Dodson said.  

No decisions or final approvals will be made yet and there will still be time for additional public comment so for now, you can read all about the technical authority and testing here.

“There has been an immense amount of work that has gone into this document so far,” MMCC Executive Director William Tilburg said. “For everybody that provided comment, know that it was well-received and reviewed and much of it will be incorporated into an approved future version we look forward to sharing in coming weeks.”

The committee meeting then moved to Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) corrections such as problems with the term “certified physician” when it should have been “certifying provider” and a direction to report to local law enforcement rather than only the Maryland State Police. “Not controversial, very straightforward,” is how MMCC’s Taylor Kasky, the Director of Policy and Government Affairs explained it. There was no public comment provided on the corrections. You can read those technical corrections here

Meanwhile, as reported by The Baltimore Business Journal, the MMCC recently allowed Ethos Cannabis, which currently operates in Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, to run and eventually purchase Mission brand dispensaries operating in Maryland. This would give Ethos dispensaries in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden, Catonsville in Baltimore County, and Rockville, near Washington, D.C. Mission is owned by 4FrontVentures, which began in Vancouver, and has dispensaries in many states across the United States.

And in other dispensary news, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Nature’s Medicines because the general manager of Nature’s Medicines Dispensary in Ellicott City has been accused of sexual harassment. Allegations include the general manager (who has not been publicly named) making crude comments to employees and customers, inappropriate touching, and showing an employee a naked photo. 

“The EEOC charges that the general manager of the Nature’s Medicines facility in Ellicott City, Md., subjected at least three patient service providers to a sexually hostile work environment,” the EEOC wrote on their website. “The general manager continued the offensive comments and behavior despite employee complaints. The EEOC charges that he told an employee that because of his industry connections, he could prevent anyone from getting employment at other area cannabis dispensaries if anyone com­plained about him. Nature’s Medicines and AMMA did not have a sexual harassment policy during much of the time when the harassment occurred and failed to stop the harassment even when an employee complained, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit.”

AMMA Investment Group which is responsible for human resources and payroll for Nature’s Medicine are also named in the lawsuit.

Photo illustration by Kathy Wyche

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