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Maryland: House Fails To Pass Amended Bill Adding Five Medical Marijuana Cultivation Licenses

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A plan to add five medical marijuana cultivation licenses in Maryland was defeated in the House of Delegates after Republican lawmakers delayed the vote right up until midnight, which marked the official end of the legislative session. The measure was pushed by Legislative Black Caucus chairwoman Del. Cheryl Glenn as part of her efforts to create equity in the state’s medical marijuana licensing program.

The bill was passed last week, but was returned to lawmakers for amendments. The revised bill did not receive another vote by the full House, which was required for its survival.

Glenn has called on legislative leaders to hold a special one-day session specifically to consider the measure. “It’s not important to me what the speaker’s reasons or justifications were,” Glenn said in the report. “What is important is to understand where this leaves the black community: It leaves us outside of the medical cannabis industry, and that is absolutely unacceptable.”

The legislation would have put an end to lawsuits against the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission by minority-owned medical cannabis companies who say the commission did not follow the law which requires regulators to “actively seek and achieve” racial and ethnic diversity in the industry.

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Commission Awards Preliminary Dispensary Licenses

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has received 882 dispensary license applications, and has awarded licenses to 102 dispensaries so far, a WBAL-TV report states. Officials also said they were in the process of hiring a diversity consultant to address the lack of diversity claims in the licensing process.

“The commission is in the process and plans to hire an expert consultant who specializes in minority business affairs to do a disparity evaluation and provide future guidance on minority business enterprise initiatives and make recommendations to the commission,” Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission, said in the report.

Members of the Black Legislative Caucus made allegations that the commission had “ignored race and ethnicity throughout the licensing process in clear contravention of its authorizing statute,” which led to the decision to add a diversity consultant.

The agency has met with members of the Black Legislative Caucus and the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs to discuss the concerns of stakeholders.

Commissioner Paul Davies says the program has experienced delays, but only because of its early success.

“This program has had more applications that we are aware of than any other state in the country,” he said.

Maryland: Governor Appoints Commission To Oversee Medical Marijuana Program

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maryland's medical marijuana law is "smoke and mirrors," according to Maryland NORML; almost all national cannabis law reform organizations agree, and don't include Maryland on the list of MMJ states, since its law appears to be unworkable. Be that as it may, Governor Martin O'Malley on Thursday appointed a commission to oversee the program.

The governor appointed 11 members to the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission, as called for by legislation passed during this year's session of the General Assembly, reports John Wagner at The Washington Post. Chairing the marijuana commission will be Dr. Paul W. Davies, president of Advanced Pain Management Specialists, which has eight locations in Maryland.

Maryland's new medical marijuana law limits distribution of cannabis to a small number of academic medical centers. The commission has the authority to permit the centers to design and implement programs that make marijuana available to defined groups of patients.

The earliest that a center could begin distribution is 2016, according to legislative analysts. The marijuana commission is scheduled to have its first meeting in Baltimore on September 24.

But according to Judy Pentz of Maryland NORML, the law is little more than political window dressing.

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