Maryland licensed producer Curio Wellness has filed a lawsuit in an effort to prevent the state Medical Cannabis Commission from awarding additional cultivation licenses in an effort to foster more minority participation in the state’s industry, the Baltimore Sun reports. The company argues that the commission is violating its own rules by soliciting applications without first completing a supply and demand survey.
David Nevins, a Curio spokesman, said the company was “compelled to file the action to protect their business and investments and rights and to enforce the promises made by the state of Maryland and the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to induce private sector growers to invest and operate in this important public health program.”
The lawsuit alleges that the regulations promised to strictly limit the number of licenses. In addition to Curio, there are 12 other licensed producers in the state.
“Those promises include the state not expanding the number of cultivator licenses without first conducting a demand study to determine if additional supply is necessary to meet the demand for this newly established public health program.” — Nevins, to the Sun
Curio is owned by prominent Democratic donor Michael Bronfein.
Maryland Del. Cheryl Glenn, a Democrat who has advocated for social equity in the state’s cannabis industry, said the commission conducted a “disparity study” which found that none of the state’s 15 licensed producers were minority-owned. After the study was released a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan told the Sun there was “clear and unequivocal evidence” of disparity in the industry.
Glenn, who chairs the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, called Curio’s position “unfortunate.”
“I would be ashamed to file such a lawsuit,” she said in the report. “It’s saying that you want to maintain the lack of diversity like we have in the rest of the country in this industry.”
The Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Trade Association said the state should continue with the new licensing process.