CannaMed rejected for pot-growing operation

No applicants in Wicomico County were approved to grow medicinal marijuana by the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission this week, a decision that deeply disappointed one local businessman.

“We are obviously devastated by the news,” Jeffrey Suskind, chairman and in-house counsel for CannaMed in Hebron told the Salisbury Independent.

“I don’t understand why they didn’t place a grower in Wicomico County. Salisbury is one of the biggest cities in this region and it’s a place where people need jobs,” he said.

CannaMed planned to hire 100 highly skilled employees.

“We’re going to meet and discuss all our options,” he said.

While applicants that weren’t approved can seek permission to partner with those who were, Suskind said he doubts companies that get licensed “are going to be that interested in merging because they are in such an enviable position.”

CannaMed took a risk, settling in the former Matech building in Hebron and building the interior to the unique specifications of growing cannabis.

“We had to plow ahead. We thought it was in the best interest to continue to plow forward,” Suskind said.

He plans to e-mail commission members and ask if CannaMed was one of the two of the 15 “that got dropped at the last minute for geographic reasons.”

The Washington Post reported the commission planned to award the 15 cultivation licenses to those with the highest scores on applications.

At the last minute, though, following a motion by a commissioner, those that ranked 14th and 15th were eliminated and two other companies moved up the list, even though those companies didn’t do as well on applications.

That was done “to ensure that the companies approved to grow marijuana were more evenly distributed across the state,” according to The Post.

While he waits for answers from the commission, Suskind said, improvements will continue to the building, “so we don’t lose ground.”

Other than growing cannabis, he said he isn’t sure what else the structure could be used for.

“I’m trying to think of something but the building is uniquely qualified for this. I’m just devastated by the news that we weren’t approved. There were strong indications that we would get approval,” he said.

A processor in Wicomico was chosen, AFS Maryland LLC, reportedly linked to William H. Brothers, a businessman in Washington, D.C., and Arizona, according to The Post.

Processors given the OK in neighboring counties are MaryMed LLC, Dorchester County; Doctors Orders Maryland LLC, Dorchester County; and Blair Wellness Center LLC, Worcester County.

The processor, Suskind explained, makes cannabis into extracts, including liquid to smoke in an electronic cigarette.

CannaMed did not want to process the plant, only grow it, then sell to a dispensary, “for people who want to buy the plant or sell it to a processor, who then sells the refined product,” he explained.

The commission announced who was affirmed from the 145 growers and 124 processors who applied last year.

Growers who won approval are Doctors Orders Maryland LLC, Dorchester County;  MaryMed LLC, Dorchester County; Shore Natural Rx LLC, Worcester County;  Curio Cultivation LLC, Baltimore County; Forward Gro LLC, Anne Arundel County; Freestate Wellness LLC, Howard County; Green Leaf Medical LLC, Frederick County; Grow West MD LLC, Garrett County; Harvest of Maryland LLC, Washington County; HMS Health LLC, Frederick County; Holistic Industries LLC, Prince George’s County; Kind Therapeutics USA LLC, Washington County; Maryland Compassionate Care and Wellness LLC, Carroll County; SunMed Growers LLC, Cecil County; and Temescal Wellness of MD LLC, Baltimore City.

Shore Natural Rx  in Worcester County is registered to Erick Bruder of Ocean Pines.

MaryMed is run by Minnesota grower Kyle Kingsley, owner of Vireo Health, according to the Washington Post.

The Post said the business is licensed to grow in Minnesota and New York, but that regulatory officials in both states investigated Vireo Health “based on allegations from a former employee that it transported marijuana across state lines.”

Processors chosen by the Commission are AFS Maryland LLC, Wicomico County; MaryMed LLC, Dorchester County; Doctors Orders Maryland LLC, Dorchester County; Blair Wellness Center LLC, Worcester County; Chesapeake Alternatives LLC, Queen Anne’s County; Curio Manufacturing LLC, Baltimore County; FGM Processing LLC, Charles County; Holistic Industries LLC, Prince George’s County; Kind Therapeutics USA LLC, Washington County; Maryland Compassionate Care and Wellness LLC, Carroll County;

Pharmaculture Corp., Allegany County; Pro Green Medical LLC, Frederick County; Rosebud Organics LLC, Montgomery County; Seven Points Agro-Therapeutics LLC, Prince George’s County; and Temescal Wellness of MD, Baltimore City.

Companies authorized to proceed will have a year to meet state requirements before they can receive final approval.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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