Agriculture And Medical Marijuana In Maryland: An Industry Perspective
For the first time in a long time, I’m not representing Bell Nursery as I share this.
While I remain fully involved in Bell, I’ve found myself pulled into the dialogue that our legislature in Maryland has been having on medical marijuana.
Growing up in an ag family, and participating over many years in various industry organizations, I knew it would be worth learning more about the future of this product and its use as there was rare cross-aisle support for its development here. I knew that agriculture collectively remains Maryland’s largest employer, and farm diversification is something that I’ve felt strongly about since watching tobacco growers of many generations be legislated out of existence a decade ago. These families had tilled the land in some cases since the late 1600s. Unfortunately they had not diversified their income prior to their only cash crop being essentially outlawed.
Following a review of the draft legislation, it was apparent that the evolution of much of the marijuana growing industry was getting ready to be the only type of growing considered by Maryland in its quest for Medical Marijuana production — that is, artificially lit, heated and cooled warehouses.
As it stands now, production of medical marijuana is being discussed only for warehouse or indoor-style production, NOT traditional agriculture or greenhouses. That’s a real problem for future agricultural diversity.