One of the top marijuana regulators in Maryland for the past five years is leaving her post, effective New Year’s Eve.
According to a news release from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, the organization’s chairwoman, Tiffany Randolph, announced her resignation at the commission’s meeting this week and thanked her colleagues for their work.
“Over the past five years, commissioners and staff have established Maryland as a model medical cannabis program and helped prepare the state for a transition to an expanded medical and adult-use market,” Randolph said in the release, referring to the state’s upcoming recreational cannabis market following the victory of a ballot measure last month.
It’s still not clear when the recreational market in Maryland may launch, but the medical marijuana market has been active since 2017, the same year that Randolph was named to the commission.
Randolph served initially as one of several commissioners, then was named vice chair in 2019, before being appointed chairwoman of the commission last year.
Randolph – who is Black – also helped oversee the issuance of 14 cultivation and processor licenses to minority- and women-owned businesses, making Maryland’s medical marijuana industry “among the most diverse” in the country, according to the release. Maryland has 102 retailers, 18 cultivators, 19 processors, and five testing labs as of earlier this year.
Under Randolph’s leadership, the commission also focused on streamlining regulations to favor medical cannabis patients and small businesses, according to the release. Rule changes under her watch included:
- Lengthening patient registrations, to six years from three.
- Cutting patient registration fees by 50%.
- Reducing patient registration wait times, “from two weeks to two days or less.”
Following the success of the recreational marijuana ballot question in November, the responsibility for overseeing the cannabis market will also shift, from the Medical Marijuana Commission to the Maryland Alcohol Tobacco Commission at some point next year.
In the interim, the commission’s vice-chair, Dr. C. Obi Onyewu, will succeed Randolph as head of the commission.
The change also comes in advance of a necessary regulatory framework for the adult-use marijuana market, which state lawmakers will have to approve in coming months before recreational cannabis possession becomes legal in July 2023, if the state is to have legal regulated sales.