Governor Larry Hogan Announces Appointments to Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission
Fills 3 Vacancies, Replaces 6 Commission Members With Expired Terms, Doubles Minority Representation
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced ten appointments to the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission. The commission oversees the development of policies, procedures, and regulations to ensure that medical cannabis is available to qualifying patients. With the initial application phase complete, the commission is focused on the successful implementation of Maryland’s medical cannabis program.
Charles P. LoDico, M.S., F-ABFT, is currently a senior chemist/toxicologist for the Department of Health and Human Services. He received his master’s in pharmacology/toxicology from Long Island University, School of Pharmacy. LoDico, who has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals, was nominated by the University of Maryland Medical Center. His appointment fills a vacancy for a scientist with experience in the science of cannabis and nominated by a state research institution on the commission.
Barry G. Pope is the drug rebate manager and PBM clinical pharmacist for Conduent State Healthcare, LLC. He has been a registered pharmacist for 20 years, where he has experience servicing large Medicaid populations. Mr. Pope received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Arnold and Marie Schwartz School of Pharmacy. Pope was recommended for this appointment by the Maryland Pharmacy Association, and fills a vacancy for a licensed pharmacist in the state on the commission.
Brian P. Lopez is a partner and the executive vice president for Osprey Property Company, where he oversees the company’s multi-family and affordable housing portfolio. Prior to joining Osprey Property Company, he was a loan officer for AGM Financial Services, Inc., and a project manager for Safeway, Inc. Lopez received his master’s in Real Estate Development from Johns Hopkins University. Lopez fills a vacancy for a member of the public or a patient who supports medical cannabis position on the commission.
Alvin W. Davis, M.D., currently serves as a partner at the Cumberland Anesthesia and Pain Management Associates, where he specializes in cardiac/thoracic anesthesia. He received his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Davis fills one of the three licensed physician positions on the commission.
Jeffrey R. Gahler is the Harford County Sheriff, a position he has held since 2014. Prior to being elected sheriff, he served 28 years with the Maryland State Police where grew from a cadet to a captain. Gahler received his masters of science in management from Johns Hopkins University. Sheriff Gahler fills the law enforcement representative position on the commission.
Charles Smith III has served as the state’s attorney for Frederick County since 2007. Smith is also a member of the Frederick County Substance Abuse Council and is chair of the State’s Attorneys’ Coordination Council. Smith received his law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Smith fills the member of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association position on the commission.
Rachel Rhodes is the horticulture associate agent and master gardener coordinator for the University of Maryland Extension – Queen Anne’s County, where she provides horticultural and environmental education classes. Rhodes received her masters of environmental science from Wesley College. Rhodes fills the representative of the University of Maryland Extension position on the commission.
Ehsan Abdeshahian, M.D., currently serves as a staff physician with specialties in pain and sports medicine for Advanced Pain Management Specialists. Dr. Abdeshahian received his medical degree from St. George’s University in Grenada, Spain, and completed his residency at the State University of New York – Downstate University Hospital. Dr. Abdeshahian fills one of the three licensed physician positions on the commission.
Scott Welsh is the owner of Maryland Flower and Foliage, where he maintains 160,000 square feet of greenhouse space and 100,000 square feet of outdoor growing areas, manages the day-to-day operations, and works closely with local growers and farmers to produce cuttings, seedlings, and finished products for resale throughout the state. Welsh fills the position of an individual with experience in horticulture and recommended by the Department of Agriculture on the commission.
John T. Gontrum, Esq., serves as the assistant comptroller for the Office of the Comptroller of Maryland, and previously served as the director of legislative affairs and as a constituent services officer for the Comptroller. Mr. Gontrum received his J.D. from the University of Maryland School Of Law. Gontrum is being reappointed to the commission for a term starting October 1, 2017, and fills the representative of the Office of the Comptroller position on the commission.