Recreational marijuana

(Photo: MGN Online)

CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A new analysis from Cannabis Policy Project Consulting projects recreational marijuana will be a $1B industry in Maryland within two years of legalization.

When the statewide referendum passed in November, lawmakers knew it would be a quick turnaround to figure out the parameters of that legalization.

State Senator Elect Johnny Mautz, who will represent much of the Eastern Shore says there is a lot to consider.

"I think the question for the Eastern Shore is who makes the rules, how are the rules implemented and what are the rules going to be," he said.

The Senator Elect says it is too early to say whether he would support a provision that would allow a county or jurisdiction to opt-out from having recreational dispensaries.

But Mautz says it is important in this entire process that local government have authority.

Dr. Michael Sofis with Cannabis Public Policy Consulting says the Eastern Shore has been the most underserved by the recreational cannabis industry so far.

Dr. Sofis says that means recreational dispensaries on the Shore should be a priority.

"Folks use cannabis a lot there, they don't necessarily use less than other areas, but there's very very few existing medical dispensaries," he said.

Bill Christopher with the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce says the County has been on the progressive side of medical marijuana, but he has yet to see a huge demand to sell or grow recreationally in the county.

"You will definitely see the application for licenses coming in, it will probably just be lower on the Shore," he said.

"Part of what's needed to come out of these regulations is how many dispensaries are you going to have, are they going to regulate dispensaries," Christopher continued.

One sector that has the potential to benefit from the marijuana boom are dispensaries.

Michael Dunaway manages Sunburst Pharm in Cambridge, a medical dispensary.

He says the dispensary is planning to move into a building around three times larger to accommodate expected recreational sales.

"We anticipate we'll be able to continue to serve the medicinal community as long as the regulations allow for that. Because of HIPPA regulations it's going to depend on how the intertwine the medicinal and recreational communities," Dunaway said.

State lawmakers have yet to decide whether recreational and medical sales will be separate or together.

That means it is unclear if the two sales can exist within the same dispensary.