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Maryland: Governor Orders Medical Marijuana Industry Diversity Study

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has ordered a study into whether minorities are at a disadvantage when trying to obtain business licenses for the state's medical marijuana program. The study will be coordinated by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, and the Department of Transportation.

The governor wants the study to be completed as soon as possible, according to Jimmy H. Rhee, special secretary of minority affairs.

“As the issue of promoting diversity is of great importance to me and my administration, your office should begin this process immediately in order to ensure opportunities for minority participation in the industry,” Hogan wrote in the directive to Rhee.

Two lawsuits are currently pending against the MMCC by minority-led companies over denials of their business license applications.

Maryland: Senate Passes Bill To Expand List Of Who Can Recommend Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Yesterday, the Maryland Senate passed House Bill 104 Medical Cannabis- Written Certifications-Certifying Providers by a vote of 36-10.

Governor Larry Hogan (R) is expected to sign the legislation, which will allow dentists, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives to provide written certification for medical marijuana to qualifying patients. The law currently only allows physicians to prescribe the drug.

These additional medical providers would be required to have an active, unrestricted license, be in good standing with their respective board, and have a state contolled dangerous substances (CDS) registration in order to qualify to be a provider.

Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, commended the Maryland General Assembly, saying "I am pleased to see the Maryland legislature recognizing that medical cannabis therapies should be an option for all medical professionals in treating their patients.”

If Gov. Hogan signs the legislation, Maryland would join at least two other states that have a more inclusive approach to the types of licensed health care providers who can make written recommendations under their state’s medical cannabis program.

Maryland: Legislature Overrides Veto Of Bill To Fix Marijuana Decrim Law

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53% of Maryland voters support regulating marijuana like alcohol, according to new Gonzales Research poll

The Maryland House and Senate voted 86-55 and 29-17, respectively, on Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill intended to fix the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

SB 517, introduced by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), removes criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia. The measure also imposes a new civil fine of up to $500 on public cannabis consumption.

Gov. Hogan vetoed the bill in May 2015, after it was approved 32-13 in the Senate and 83-53 in the House of Delegates.

Maryland adopted a law in 2014 that was intended to decriminalize simple marijuana possession, but it did not include marijuana paraphernalia.

A new poll released on Thursday shows that the majority of Maryland voters support broader cannabis policy reform. A statewide survey of 818 registered voters conducted by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies found 53 percent favor a change in Maryland law to allow marijuana to be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. Only 43 percent were opposed.

The poll was conducted Jan. 11-16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. The full results are available at www.mpp.org/Md2016poll.

Maryland: Governor Vetoes Popular Bill Intended To Fix Marijuana Decrim Law

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Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland calls on state lawmakers to override veto of SB 517, which would remove criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced late Friday afternoon that he has vetoed a widely supported bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, including potential jail time.

SB 517, introduced by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), was approved 32-13 in the Senate and 83-53 in the House of Delegates. The measure would also have designated public marijuana consumption a civil offense punishable by a $500 fine.

Maryland adopted a law last year that decriminalized possession of a small amount of marijuana, but it did not include marijuana paraphernalia. That leaves the state in the unusual position of having decriminalized marijuana itself, but marijuana paraphernalia is still a crime.

Gov. Hogan’s letter to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller announcing the veto and explaining his reasoning is available at http://bit.ly/1ellF1e.

Maryland: Legislature Votes To Repeal Law Against Marijuana Paraphernalia

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland General Assembly has approved a bill which would repeal the state's law against marijuana paraphernalia.

The House of Delegates on Saturday voted 84-52, sending the bill, already approved by the Senate, to Governor Larry Hogan's desk, reports CBS DC.

Maryland decriminalized possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana last year, making it a civil offense rather than a criminal one.

Lawmakers didn't do the same thing at that time for smoking paraphernalia like pipes and bongs, so the paraphernalia bill was introduced this session of the Assembly.

The same measure also makes smoking marijuana in public a civil offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Photo: DEA Museum

Maryland: Gubernatorial Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's Primary Election Day in Maryland, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur says marijuana should be legalized and taxed. None of the other candidates in the race, from either party, share that position.

"Marijuana prohibition makes our communities less safe and wastes valuable law enforcement resources," Mizeur said, reports Jayne Miller at WBAL-TV. "Why should we treat something less toxic and addictive any differently than alcohol or tobacco?"

Mizeur said she'd use the funds to help pay for education. "Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana will provide Maryland with a dedicated revenue stream to make overdue and critical investments in early childhood education," she said.

Both other candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination said they support the Maryland Legislature's move this year to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, but neither Attorney General Doug Gansler nor Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is willing to support legalization.

"I do not support the legalization of marijuana at this time," Brown said. "The states of Colorado and Washington -- two states that have legalized it -- will provide an example of the socioeconomic challenges and pitfalls to marijuana legalization.

"We will learn from their experiences and assess whether addition changes to Maryland's law are warranted," Brown said.

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