Maryland Judge Temporarily Halts Medical Cannabis License Expansion

Maryland’s latest medical cannabis licensing round has been delayed due to an allegedly flawed application process that blocked many applicants from submitting all of the necessary materials on time.

Full story after the jump.

A Montgomery County, Maryland judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the state Medical Cannabis Commission, which will halt the issuance of 4 cultivation and 10 processing licenses, the Baltimore Sun reports. The Legislative Black Caucus also requested that the commission postpone issuing the licenses due to concerns about whether minority-owned firms had an equal chance in the licensing round, which was originally opened in an effort to improve diversity in the state’s cannabis industry.

“There have been significant issues and concerns raised about the process being used to determine winners and losers for these new licenses. Those concerns reached a tipping point as a result of the letters sent to those identified as top tier applicants, and those who have been rejected by the Commission for either a grower or processor license.” – Darryl Barnes, Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, in a letter to the MMCC via the Sun

The lawsuit was brought by Remileaf, who claim the commission’s application process prevented the company from getting their application in on time. According to the report, the commission had extended its original May 24 deadline after problems arose with the application website. According to the lawsuit, a Remileaf representative arrived at the commission offices at 4:55 p.m. on the day of the deadline to submit the paper application but was denied entry into the offices at 5:05 p.m. and the application was not accepted.

According to the complaint, several applicants had received an email that their applications had been “‘nullified’ ostensibly because the software used by the MMCC was fatally flawed and the electronically submitted applications could not be readily reviewed.”

“Other problems, as well, were identified by the MMCC with the software, none of which were the fault of any applicant,” the lawsuit says.

More than 200 applications were submitted for the 13 licenses. The judge’s order bars the state from issuing any new licenses until October 7, pending further hearings on Remileaf’s complaint.

It’s the latest snag in Maryland‘s medical cannabis program, which has been marred with various delays and lawsuits since 2015.

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