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Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission took a significant step to ease the process of medical marijuana cards.
The Medical Cannabis Commission of Maryland announced two changes, the validity and the cost of medical marijuana cards. The state commission approved a change that cuts the price of a medical marijuana card from $50 to $25 and increases the validity of the card from three to six years. The new rules will likely take effect in October. According to the commission, the cost of producing the cards has decreased in the past five years.
Will Tilburg, executive director for the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, “the commission made the change because renewing a card can often be confusing for patients.” The cost of printing and processing cards is also becoming cheaper because of more efficient administrative processes, so prices are now more in line with a $25 fee than a $50 fee.
Furthermore, he said, “We have a sizable older patient population and have received consistent feedback that having registration that needs to be renewed as well as certification pretty regularly is confusing.” So we are taking this step to ease the process and ensure the card price will not create an extra burden on the patient.
The state collects fees of $12 million annually from the medical marijuana cardholder. From those collected amounts, almost $1 million is used for the compassionate use fund, which helps low-income and veteran patients afford medical marijuana.
Chronic pain is the most common reason for a medical marijuana card in Maryland. There are 159,000 medical marijuana patients in Maryland; the state commission has seen an increase of almost 12,000 in the past six months. Moreover, another 20,000 more patients are expected to join the program by the end of the year.
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