dispensary. “It’s the most heavily regulated industry that
I have ever been involved in,” he says. “You have to spend
a lot of time to do it right.”
Entrepreneurs who’ve opened medical cannabis dis-
pensaries in Maryland are pioneers, and many say they
are reminded of that daily. Even in liberal Montgomery
County, some dispensary owners or operators say it was
di;cult to find landlords willing to rent commercial
space to them.
“Finding space was definitely a challenge, and con-
vincing people that this would not be some hotbed of
criminal activity,” says Rebecca Brown, who helped open
the RISE Bethesda dispensary in the Wildwood Medical
Center after other landlords turned her down. “;is is as
quiet as a CVS.”
Finding a bank willing to open a business account for a
cannabis dispensary is even tougher. Banks are federally
regulated, and selling marijuana—while legal in Mary-
land through its regulated medical cannabis program—is
still a federal crime. For that reason, the few banks willing
to do business with cannabis dispensaries in Maryland
ask them not to publicize it, owners say.
Warren Lemley, 33, grew up in Rockville, graduated
from ;omas S. Wootton High School, and is now a part
owner of Peake ReLeaf. ;e medical cannabis dispensary
opened in Rockville in May.
Opening Peake ReLeaf cost more than $1 million,
Lemley says. Some upfront expenses aren’t obvious to
the casual observer, like a 48-hour battery backup to
keep the security system running during power outages,
humidity-controlled storage to keep marijuana buds at
peak freshness, and an industrial-size carbon filter to
Most dispensaries stock a wide array of cannabis
products: tablets, tinctures, patches, oil-filled vape
pens, lotions and multiple strains of flower to smoke.
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