Maryland Highest Court orders stay in Medical Cannabis case

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on June 07, 2017.

Challenging the State’s decision of awarding medical marijuana licenses, the highest Court of Maryland took up the case in order to prevent the State from awarding further licenses.

The Court of Appeals ordered a stay over the proceedings in Baltimore City Circuit Court from holding a scheduled meeting over temporary stopping of cannabis program.

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera put the stay order till ‘further notice.’ The notice was served after lawyers representing 13 put of 15 companies that are finalist in licensing process asked the Court of Appeals to intervene.

A temporary restraining order was issued last week by Judge Barry Williams which stopped the Marijuana Commission from approving any licenses until the lawsuit is addressed.

 “Individuals who may or could be affected by a court decision have a due-process right to participate in that hearing to defend themselves,” Attorney Alan Rifkin said.

A suit had been filed by Alternative Medicine Maryland, LLC, a company whose application was not chosen for medical marijuana license. The company had alleged the state commission responsible for awarding licenses had not considered racial diversity among applicants. Even as Alternative Medicine Maryland was not selected as the finalist, ForwardGro, a Stevensville based company is the only company which has been awarded a final license to grow marijuana.

The temporary restraining order had led to protests by several medical cannabis patients, who were joined by advocates for a demonstration outside Courthouse East. The advocates are hoping for medical cannabis rollout by the end of this year.

Though the first medical marijuana law was approved by the State in 2013, the attempt was delayed. In 2014, the law was changed to accommodate State-certified doctors to recommend medical marijuana for patients with chronic diseases. The medical cannabis program is one of the slowest in Maryland.

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