The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has announced the companies that have been awarded Stage One license pre-approvals to run a medical marijuana dispensary (thanks for the heads up, Maryland NORML!). From here, the 102 dispensary entities enter Phase 2 and have to go through criminal background checks, financial verification, etc.  Here's the full announcement from the MMCC website (and you can find the list of companies at that link):
Baltimore, MD (December 9, 2016) – The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (“MMCC”) today announced the names of 102 Dispensary entities who have been awarded Stage One license pre-approvals from a total of 811 applications submitted for up to 109 available licenses statewide.  This marks the conclusion of this phase of the Grower, Processor, and Dispensary application process.  Each pre-awardee has 365 days from date of pre-approval to implement their operations.   Dr. Paul W. Davies, Chairman for the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission stated, “These qualified entities will be on the front line providing medical cannabis to qualified patients in Maryland. They will have a tremendous responsibility in serving the legitimate needs of those patients that seek medical treatment.”   The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission’s Executive Director, Patrick Jameson stated, “These dispensaries will be the new face of the medical cannabis industry in Maryland, once final licenses are issued. The Commission has an expectation that these dispensaries will operate in an extremely professional manner.  Professional business operations will provide reassurance to the general public that these companies will have a positive impact on their communities.  The Commission will tightly regulate these dispensaries and looks forward to a productive working relationship with their management and staff.”  
Pursuant to COMAR requirements, the Commission was tasked to recommend pre-approval of up to two licensed Dispensaries per Senatorial District, other than the number of licensed grower dispensary facilities located in the Senatorial District.  The full Commission voted unanimously on 92 Dispensary applications for pre-approvals, as well as 10 pre-approvals associated with pre-approved Growers, for a total of 102.  Two Senatorial Districts had only 1 pre-approval for those Districts and the remaining Districts were awarded 2 pre-approvals. By regulation, a party is only permitted to have an interest in one license in the State of Maryland.   All 10 Grower pre-awardees who submitted a separate Dispensary application were awarded a Dispensary pre-approval. Each Grower-associated Dispensary application was evaluated and scored on its own separate merit, as with the remaining 92 pre-approvals.   MMCC commissioned the Regional Economic Studies Institute (“RESI”), a division of Towson University, to coordinate the review of the Dispensary applications by subject matter experts and to utilize the same process as used for the Grower and Processor applications, including compiling the scores and application rankings.  The Commissioners reviewed blinded applications which were redacted as to the applicant names, entity names, and locations, and used a Nobel Prize winning mathematical algorithm, most famously used by the “National Resident Matching Program”, to place applicants into Senatorial Districts, using both the applicant’s score and District preferences.  All applicants, including those who did not receive pre-approvals, were notified today as to the status of their application via email and US mail.   The pre-approved Dispensary entities will continue on to Stage Two of the approval process, which will include undergoing criminal background investigations, financial due diligence, and compliance inspections by the MMCC, as well as completing regulatory requirements, raising capital, securing local zoning approvals, and construction of facilities. The Commissioners will vote for licensure in a public meeting once compliance with the regulatory requirements is complete.
Congrats to the winners and good luck! Let's get some medicine to the good people of Maryland already.