ANNAPOLIS — The president of the Maryland Senate is sponsoring a bill to increase diversity in medical-marijuana grower licenses after a spate of other legislation addressing the issue failed to gain traction in the Maryland General Assembly.
The bill, sponsored by Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert, would grant up to five more growing licenses and increase the likelihood they would go to minority-owned businesses.
The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission would partner with historically black colleges and universities and conduct outreach targeted toward minorities and women, under Miller’s bill.
Maryland has had one of slowest rollouts of medical marijuana in the nation.
The commission, which grants licenses to growers, processors and dispensaries, has been hampered by legal battles and subsequent legislation since Maryland legalized medical cannabis in 2014.
To squash pending lawsuits, the five new licenses would include two businesses that are currently suing the commission.
After complaints surfaced that the commission didn’t fairly include representation in areas of southeastern Maryland, the commission revised its original unanimous decision on the 15 companies slated to receive growing licenses. [Read more at Herald-Mail Media]