by Lexi Matthews ’18
Three new medical marijuana dispensaries, RISE in Bethesda, Potomac Holistics in Rockville, and Bloom Medicinals in Germantown, are set to open as some of the first dispensaries in Montgomery County in 2018, bringing the number of legal medical marijuana storefronts in the state to 22 and in the county to six.
While medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 2013, delays in procedural setups and legislative stops had prevented any programs from opening until late 2017. High volumes of demand for prescription cannabis from patients suffering chronic, debilitating conditions overwhelmed the initial dispensaries in Frederick and Westminster, prompting more programs to pop up in Rockville, Bethesda, and Germantown. These will join the dispensaries already open in the county in Gaithersburg and Silver Spring.
Fifteen licensed growers supply the entire state with legal marijuana, and every dispensary reported selling out of their allocated amounts in just days. Montgomery County leads the state in the number of patients certified to buy the substance, with 1,710 of 10,995 legal marijuana purchasers in Maryland being from here. To become a certified buyer, patients in Maryland must get a written certification from a doctor declaring marijuana as an adequate treatment to a verified medical condition, register as a patient with the state, and submit proof of ID and address.