A blooming cannabis plant lit up under a purple LED grow light.

Sarah Climaco

Officials in Maryland are warning of companies attempting to scam would-be medical cannabis patients by offering preapproval exams and selling “marijuana cards,” according to a Washington Post report.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has issued preliminary licenses for dispensaries and cultivators, but none of those businesses have been given final approval or been allowed to begin operations – expected, at the soonest, in late 2017. Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission, said they were aware of the scheme and have received inquiries from about 20 potential patients.

“This type of fraudulent activity preys against the most vulnerable people in society and we will do everything possible to stop this behavior,” Jameson said in the report. “Only patient identification cards issued by the Commission are legitimate. At this point no ID cards have been issued.”

Darrell Carrington, executive director of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association, said that patients are prime targets for scammers because they are “so desperate for medication” but “there is “no such thing as preapproval.”

“Groups that are operating nefariously and preying on people’s hopes and desires do a huge disservice,” he said.

Under the law, patients enrolled in the program will be required to join an online registry; and while ID cards will be available, they will not be required.  

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