Medical marijuana group still awaiting state permits

A first-of-its-kind facility in Wicomico County, where medicinal cannabis would be cultivated and sold to processing plants, is expected to open near Hebron within a year, and hire up to 100 people.

CannaMed Pharmaceuticals LLC is now seeking a license to “manufacture, distribute and process pharmaceutical-grade, condition-specific medical cannabis in Maryland in accordance with the highest standards of quality,” according to Angeline Nanni, who handles public relations for company.

The managing director, Jeff Siskind, is a Baltimore native who found Wicomico to be a good location for the business. Many of the new jobs will be high-level, requiring a scientific background, and he liked that there are two universities and Wor-Wic Community College nearby.

CannaMed will work with Wor-Wic to train employees, Nanni said.

The company will open in the former Matech building.

“As of the end of March we finalized our location at the Matech facility. We’re beginning to do the buildout of that building. We were down there (May 1) with the workmen and they are getting ready to  complete what we are calling our Quick Start Room,” explained Nanni, who is based in Ellicott City.

The facility will be on a secluded 7.4 acres in a 47,000-square-foot production warehouse with 35,000 square feet of indoor agricultural production growing space, according to information provided by the company.

An additional 6,000 square feet will be dedicated to the research and development of medicinal cannabis.

Production will be “consistent with the requirements as promulgated by the Maryland legislature and overseen by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission” formed in 2014, according to information provided by the company.

“As soon as licenses are awarded we can grow medicinal cannabis and have a product in six months,” Nanni said.

The company will apply only for a cultivator’s license.

“What they’re hoping to enforce in Maryland is to keep it more along medicinal lines, in capsules or a dry material that you can use in smoking. Or, in tinctures, so you get oils and put them under the tongue,” she said.

“We hope the license is issued this summer. We are one of the few companies that are doing everything on risk. We have bought the facility. We have zoning approval from Wicomico County. We are working to get our Quick Start Room up. A lot of cultivation applications go in stages. Stage I allows for companies to obtain zoning approval. We have already done that,” Nanni said.

She couldn’t say exactly how long it will take to grow cannabis, since growing time depends on the strain. The company hopes to start with the 15 most effective medicinal strains, she said.

Neither could she estimate the volume that will be produced locally, saying it’s too soon to know.

Those hired will be highly skilled and educated and not working for minimum wage, Nanni  said. Some with have science backgrounds because CannaMed will conduct research on medical cannabis, in conjunction with experts at Johns Hopkins. There will also be a quality control area.

CannaMed envisions its role as “being a model cultivation resource for Maryland’s licensed processors and dispensaries, and catalytic in the evolution of a larger effort to provide patients with safe and affordable medical cannabis,” according to information provided by the company.

“Our plan is to work through partnerships in both the public and private sectors, with research organizations, academic institutions, policy makers and individuals to advance medical cannabis science and development,” it states.


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