Hogan Appoints Patient Advocate to Medical Cannabis Commission

A Washington Post article (2016-10-07) reported that Maryland Governor Lawrence (Larry) Hogan has appointed a new member to the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Patient advocate Saundra Washington will replace former Commissioner Deborah Miran. The appointment comes as the Commission is facing a lawsuit challenging the Commission’s decision to ensure geographic diversity when awarding preliminary grower and processor licenses and criticism from the Maryland General Assembly’s Legislative Black Caucus for not considering racial diversity in the licensing process. From the article:

The governor selected Saundra Washington, an African American cancer survivor and director of a Maryland nonprofit group that provides food and charity to people in need, after consulting with the General Assembly’s Legislative Black Caucus.

Del. Cheryl D. Glenn (D-Baltimore), the caucus’s president, said Washington wasn’t the group’s recommendation. But she welcomed additional diversity to the regulatory body, which previously had only one African American.

Glenn, a strong proponent of medical marijuana, said she will push legislation in the upcoming 2017 session to overhaul the structure of the commission, which she and other critics say is not suited to oversee a complex, multimillion-dollar industry of growers, processors and dispensers.