Maryland’s medical marijuana program faces a potential new delay after a judge Thursday ordered a temporary halt to the program pending a hearing as part of a lawsuit that alleges regulators failed to consider racial diversity in licensing businesses.
Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams granted a temporary restraining order barring the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission from granting new licenses to grow medical marijuana until a June 2 hearing.
The lawsuit by Alternative Medicine Maryland, a majority-black-owned company that failed to get a license, argues that regulators failed to consider minority ownership despite a legal mandate to “actively seek to achieve” racial and ethnic diversity.
In a one-page order, Williams said he granted the motion “on the grounds that irreparable harm will result to plaintiff in the form of loss of ability, once all licenses are issued” to other businesses.
The ruling comes as Maryland’s long-delayed and controversial medical marijuana program was finally getting off the ground. Regulators had preapproved 15 companies, none led by African Americans, and have given them until August to pass final inspections and background checks. [Read more at The Washington Post]