Apparently most residents didn’t even notice the two new businesses Maggie’s and Pure Life Wellness in Federal Hill. The two new businesses opening this week are making history as Baltimore’s first medical marijuana dispensaries nestled among the bars, shops and restaurants of Federal Hill and Hampden.
A total of 11 will open in the city, with 102 expected statewide.
They arrived so quietly that many passers-by said they didn’t realize they were open. Nowhere on the storefronts do the businesses say they are in the marijuana or pharmacy business and one looks more like a spa than a weed dispensary.
Polls show that most Marylanders – as much as 90 percent in a 2014 Goucher survey– approve of legalizing the popular herb
Maggie’s is located in the former Schwing Motor Building a few blocks off the Avenue in Hampden, and the Art Deco structure has been given enough of a makeover to earn kudos from neighbors.
Maggie’s is set amid rowhouses, a 7-Eleven and a couple of art galleries.
The cost of licenses to grow or run dispensaries in Maryland remain one of the highest in the country and there are no African American owners despite the fact that black folks are disproportionately victimized and imprisoned by anti-marijuana laws. The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus is fighting to pass laws to ensure participation in the profitable marijuana business by people of color.
Recreational weed is not legal yet and before purchasing medical marijuana, clients need to register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission and get a recommendation from a doctor. There were more than 17,000 consumers and more than 500 providers registered as of December when the first half dozen dispensaries opened around the state. Now 30 dispensaries have been approved to open, though not all of them have.
What do you think about the lack of African Americans participating in the legal marijuana business. Hit me @Jaztalk1 on twitter, Instagram and Facebook.