Thad Zajdowicz

Maryland Gov. Orders MMJ Industry Diversity Study

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered a study of whether minorities are at a disadvantage in trying to obtain operating licenses for the state’s medical cannabis program, the Baltimore Sun reports. The study will be coordinated by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs.

The move comes after the House of Delegates failed to pass a bill two weeks ago that would have added five more licenses in an effort to create more equity in the program. After the end-of-session failure, Del. Cheryl Glenn, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, called on lawmakers to hold a special session to bring the issue to a vote. She is currently circulating a petition among senators to do just that, unless Hogan orders one himself.

Hogan did not set a timetable for the study’s completion, but Jimmy H. Rhee, special secretary of minority affairs, indicated that the governor wants it completed “as expeditiously as possible.”

“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.

At least two lawsuits against the MMCC by minority-led companies over their denials are currently pending.

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