In October 2013, the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission was authorized by the General Assembly (Chapter 403, Acts of 2013). Its charge was expanded in June 2014 (Chapters 240 & 256, Acts of 2014), and it was renamed the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission in May 2015 in honor of Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn's mother, who died of kidney cancer at age 87 (Chapter 251, Acts of 2015).

The Commission implements and administers the program for the compassionate medical use of cannabis (marijuana) in Maryland.

Initially, the Commission was to request proposals from academic medical centers to operate medical cannabis compassionate use programs. In 2014, however, legislation authorized it to make medical cannabis available beyond those patients participating in a research study at an academic medical center (Chapters 240 & 256, Acts of 2014). Thereafter, the Commission established a framework to certify health care providers, including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives. Written certification also is provided to qualifying patients and their caregivers.

Medical Cannabis Program. Implemented by the Commission, the Program in Maryland licenses growers, processers, and dispensaries; and registers testing laboratories.

In Maryland, medical cannabis has been available to patients since December 2017. Qualifying patients who have received written certification from their certifying physician then may obtain medical cannabis. Only those dispensaries licensed by the Commission are authorized to sell cannabis to qualifying patients. License holders that grow and process the drug are available on the Commission website.

Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission Fund. Established in 2013, the Fund is administered by the Commission (Code Health-General Article, sec. 13-3303(h)(1)).

Formerly located at the Metro Executive Office Building, 4201 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, the Commission moved to its present location in Linthicum in September 2017.

Sixteen members constitute the Commission. Fifteen are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor, and one serves ex officio (Code Health-General Article, sec. 13-3302 through 13-3316).

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