Despite Controversy, Cannabis Commission To Announce Dispensary Licenses December 9

A Baltimore Sun article (2016-11-17) reported that the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will formally announce winning applications for approximately 100 preliminary dispensary licenses on December 9, despite current litigation and pending legislation over racial and geographic diversity concerns in the grower and processor licensing process. From the article:

 The state received more than 800 applications to open dispensaries across Maryland. The law legalizing medical marijuana allows for up to two dispensaries in each of Maryland’s 47 legislative districts, plus one for each of the 15 marijuana growers.

The commission turned over the applications to Towson’s Regional Economic Studies Institute, which used outside experts to review and rank the applications without regard to the identity of the applicant.

A subsequent Baltimore Sun article (2016-11-18) reported that leaders of the Maryland General Assembly’s black caucus were angry with the Commission’s decision to issue dispensary licenses while the grower and processor licensing process is facing both litigation and legislation.

“It’s unbelievable to me that the commission would move forward on anything when they know all of their decisions to date are under complete scrutiny,” said [Delegate Cheryl] Glenn, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. “Why move forward and create more confusion and discord with additional licenses?” …

[Medical Cannabis Commission spokesperson Vanessa Lyon] said the commission did not consider halting the process and is “committed to ensuring that qualifying patients, the sick and suffering of Maryland, are provided with a process to receive the most safe and effective medicine in the timeliest manner possible.”

House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, both Democrats, declined to comment. …

Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, said preliminary medical marijuana license decisions “are in the hands of this independent commission and the legal system.”

The article noted that several lawsuits have been filed over the Commission’s decision to award two lower ranking applicants grower licenses over two higher scoring applicants to ensure geographic diversity. A separate lawsuit was filed alleging the Commission failed to take into account racial diversity when reviewing grower and processor license applicants. Glenn also plans to introduce legislation during the 2017 Session to address the racial diversity issue.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Medical Cannabis

Learn more about medical cannabis issues and the potential workplace challenges it poses during the Cannabis in the Workplace: Clearing the Haze panel at the 2016 MACo Winter Conference.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: