Maryland’s black state lawmakers are weighing options to ensure that the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry includes its fair share of minority-owned businesses.
The Legislative Black Caucus, which comprises 45 of the General Assembly’s 188 members, has criticized the lack of racial diversity in an independent commission’s licensing of 15 companies to grow and 15 businesses to process the drug. Only one grower license and one processor license were awarded last month to businesses with some sort of minority leadership.
Complaints about diversity add to a host of complications Maryland has faced since it first attempted to set up a medical marijuana program in 2013. With millions of dollars in anticipated revenue at stake, Maryland has been slow to implement a regulatory regime for the growing, processing and dispensing of marijuana, which is still a federally banned drug.
“With the last breath in my body, I am going to see minority participation at the level it should be in Maryland with medical marijuana,” Delegate Cheryl Glenn said in an interview. “This is a billion-dollar industry.” [Read more at The Washington Times]