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Last week, Maryland regulators issued the first license to grow medical cannabis in Maryland to ForwardGro, a company with a 1-acre greenhouse located in Anne Arundel County. This decision comes more than four years after Maryland first approved a medical cannabis program.
ForwardGro is also the first company in Maryland to be certified for cultivation under American for Safe Access’ (ASA) Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program. PFC is the only nonprofit, third-party certification for the medical cannabis industry based on quality standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP). The PFC program provides components for operators, legislators, and regulators to promote the adoption of safe and reasonable industry standards and regulations from seed to consumption.
Since 2014, PFC has helped over 50 operations across the U.S. receive and maintain their licences. ForwardGro has been working with the PFC program since 2015, when they first applied for the State license. They highlighted their priority of safety standards during the application process by applying to PFC for pre-license certification. During Stage 2 of the application process, ForwardGro worked with PFC staff to ensure full PFC certification by demonstrating compliance through a facility inspection with a PFC auditor.
“The PFC certification and training program has allowed us to see improvements we could make in our procedures and facility as well as prepared us for regulatory inspections. We called PFC prior to our final inspection. Within a week an auditor conducted a walkthrough of the facility and helped us prepare for the licensing inspection. We know that the PFC certification process will help us to provide high quality, standardized cannabis products for the patients of Maryland”, said Gina Hopkins, Compliance Officer for ForwardGro.
In response, Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, released the following statement:
“We are thrilled to see Maryland finally launch their medical cannabis program and congratulate ForwardGro on this historical accomplishment. It was a pleasure to work with a company that strives to achieve a higher standard for the many medical cannabis patients in Maryland that have been waiting for so long.
“While there is still work to be done to guarantee that all patients in Maryland have access to safe medical cannabis, we know that with the approval of a license to a PFC grow operation we can be assured that there is a place that offers the highest level of quality and consistency, which will give caregivers and practitioners confidence in recommending cannabis therapies.”
View Americans for Safe Access’ 2017 evaluation of Maryland’s medical cannabis program here: