The Maryland Cannabis Commission is committed to fixing the diversity problem within the state’s medical marijuana industry. On Monday, the Commission announced it will be hiring a consultant to review the steps it can take to improve industry diversity. According to Erin Cox from The Baltimore Sun, “The consultant will determine if it is feasible to conduct a study of whether minorities have been unfairly excluded from the industry, among other tasks. Such a determination would allow Maryland to consider race when awarding licenses to grow, process or distribute marijuana for medical use.”

The consultant’s duties are still uncertain. The Commission is unclear if the consultant will study the current Maryland marijuana industry or “review data from other industries that could shed light on conditions for minorities trying to get into the medical cannabis business in Maryland.”

The state’s medical marijuana industry is one the slowest in the nation to get off the ground. The law was first passed three years ago and it was rewritten in 2014.

Back in September, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission came under heavy criticism due to their approval process for licensing marijuana growing facilities.  Regulators criticized Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh “…for what they called conflicting information about whether the state should consider racial diversity when awarding licenses to prospective cannabis businesses.” The big issue here is that initially, when awarding licenses excluding race, no minority business qualified for one.  Now that the government is re-considering adding qualifications to include race, both sides of the debate are battling for a win.

-Ray Hayes


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