Kevin Merillat of 840 Inc. takes those attending a meeting on a proposed medical cannabis operation in Calvert County on a virtual tour of a proposed dispensary.

Owings, MD – If medical marijuana is a polarizing issue in Calvert County you would never know it from the well-publicized gathering held Monday evening, Oct. 19 in Owings. Over 30 people attended the “town hall” meeting at Fairview Library to learn more about a group of local businessmen’s plan to seek state permission to legally grow and sell medical cannabis.

“It’s a great thing that’s ready to get started in our state,” said Kevin Merillat of 840 Inc., the syndicate applying for cultivation and dispensary approval from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). Merillat pledged the group’s commitment to establishing a business that would handle the controversial substance “professionally,” keep revenues within the local community, employ 15 to 20 local residents during its first year of operation, grow the product in an environmentally prudent way and give back to local education.

Merillat affirmed that the marijuana grown and distributed by 840 Inc. “is medicine. We’re going to realize we’ve been deprived of something that ought to be.”
In establishing a farm for growing medical marijuana, Merillat stated his company would “reclaim true tobacco land. We have a big farm.” The farm is located in Huntingtown on an eight-acre parcel. The property will be under 24-hour surveillance. According to Troy Harding of Blue Line Security, in addition to video monitoring, retired police officers and dogs will be guarding the property. “We’ll be doing background checks on potential employees,” said Harding.

“It sounds like you are anticipating criminal activity,” said one member of the audience. Merillat responded that the security was being set up as a deterrent to criminal activity

To grow the plant, Merillat stated the most modern technology will be used. Solar panels will be installed and any unused electricity will be sold to Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO). In turn, SMECO’s credit check will then be presented to Calvert County Public Schools. 

Pharmacist Jessica Dunbar stated there are a variety of medical conditions cannabis use can help ease. She said patients and caregivers would be able to access 840 Inc.’s dispensary. The dispensary would be subject to government regulation and inspection.

“Patients tolerate it [cannabis] so much better,” said veteran oncology nurse Michelle Cleary. “I’m just excited for this to come forward.”

Of the dispensary, Merillat declared, “this isn’t a hippie spot. This is a professional medical area.” He added, “we need to get away from opiates,” affirming that no one has ever gotten addicted to or overdosed on marijuana.

None of the five county commissioners or any other elected official attended the Oct. 19 meeting. One county commissioner did have something to say about the medical cannabis issue during the board’s Oct. 20 meeting. “We are in a learning phase,” said Commissioner Mike Hart [R – District 1]. “As I understand, it won’t be our decision.”

Hart admitted he was currently opposed to legalizing medical marijuana. “Personally, I don’t think there’s enough data.” He cautioned citizens that “once this happens, it’s here to stay,” adding “there’s not going to be this windfall of money.”

Despite the decision resting with the MMCC, Merillat urged meeting-goers to “let your commissioners know you are behind it. Be proactive with your doctors and politicians. There’s nothing to hide here. We want to be a model.”

The deadline for submitting an application to the MMCC is Nov. 6. The commission will subsequently select a maximum of 15 growers for licensing, an unlimited number of processing licenses and up to two dispensaries per each of the state’s senatorial districts.

More information on 840 Inc. can be found at

More information on the MMCC can be found at

Contact Marty Madden at