Plans for five more grower and processor licensees that will be weighted for minority-owned businesses
By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
March 24, 2017— The Maryland General Assembly is strongly considering the issuance of five more marijuana licenses, pressured by minority lawmakers after not a single one of 15 licenses went to a minority-owned company last year. The deal that was reached was not what Black leaders had originally wanted, which was a complete stay on the licensing process and the dissolving of the current Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Black lawmakers, represented by the powerful Legislative Black Caucus, were upset after the licensing process for growers and processors failed to follow the Maryland medical marijuana law, which required the consideration of racial diversity when considering licensing.
“We are not going to see this industry flourish in the state of Maryland with no minority participation,” Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn, chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus told the Capital News Service.
The Caucus had considered legal action to halt the process late last year. The law says the regulators must “actively seek to achieve” racial and ethnic diversity in the industry. With not a single license issued to a minority-owned business in the growing and processing sectors, that goal was not achieved. The Baltimore Sun Reported:
“Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch on Thursday said they agreed on a general framework that would award more licenses after a racial disparity study is completed and a new licensing system that considers minority ownership is enacted. The steps would increase the likelihood that new licenses would go to firms owned by minorities.”
Maryland has a strict medical marijuana program that has “been in the works” for many years. Legislators have become anxious to get the program up and running.
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