Challenges Faced By Medical Cannabis Businesses In Maryland
Millennials have seen policies and public opinion regarding cannabis change dramatically in our lifetimes. When we were in elementary school, it was “drugs are bad, and marijuana is a drug.” Today, more than half of the states in the United States have medical cannabis programs, including Maryland. The first legal grow operations and cannabis dispensaries in Maryland got their licenses in 2017, four years after the enactment of a law providing for the establishment of a legal cannabis industry. Approximately one out of every 100 Maryland residents has a medical cannabis card. It sounds like a great business opportunity, right? Weed is equally enjoyable whether you are attending a concert, hiking in the mountains, or sitting on the couch and watching Netflix, so cannabis should be the one industry that the COVID-19 pandemic can’t throw a monkey wrench into. The cannabis industry might be eminently pandemic proof, but aspiring pot-preneurs face a unique set of challenges that do not affect most other small businesses. With patience, strategy, and the help of a Washington DC small business lawyer, though, you can overcome these challenges.
Navigating Maryland’s Legal Cannabis Industry
At first glance, the statistic that one percent of Maryland residents have a medical cannabis card seems surprisingly low. Don’t more people suffer from chronic pain or anxiety, what with the back-breaking gig economy and the nerve-wracking endless pandemic? Despite the many thousands of patients who would love some calming edibles, the number of physicians, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals willing to recommend patients for enrollment in the medical cannabis program is surprisingly low. Several major healthcare systems, which employ most of the doctors in the state, refuse to allow their employees to recommend patients for medical cannabis.
This is a symptom of a larger problem, namely the discrepancy between state and federal laws regarding cannabis. Cannabis remains a schedule I controlled substance according to federal law. Schedule I controlled substances are drugs with no accepted medical uses; the other categories of controlled substances include drugs that can be prescribed even though they can be dangerous, such as fentanyl, amphetamines, and even cocaine. Therefore, many insurance companies will not provide insurance to cannabis dispensaries and grow operations for fear of making themselves vulnerable to legal liability. Worst of all, cannabis businesses cannot file for bankruptcy protection, because bankruptcy filings take place through federal courts, so cannabis dispensaries engage in business activities that are illegal at the federal level. This means that, if your cannabis business is struggling with debt, it is best to work with a small business lawyer to help you negotiate with creditors and make financially sound decisions.
Contact Tobin O’Connor Ewing About Making Your 420 Friendly Business Thrive
All businesses have to deal with legal loopholes and discrepancies, but this is especially true for cannabis businesses. A small business lawyer can help you resolve disputes and avoid mistakes with your business, whether you are in the medical cannabis industry or any other sector. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help.