State leaders reject call for special session on medical marijuana


There will not be a special legislative session to address charges of racial inequity in Maryland’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry.

Credit: expert joints
Credit: expert joints

The General Assembly’s Democratic presiding officers have officially rejected the call from black lawmakers to summon the full legislature to Annapolis this summer, according to a letter obtained Monday by The Baltimore Sun.

Instead, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch offered their “full support for passage of emergency legislation” to expand the marijuana industry early in 2018, when lawmakers reconvene for their annual legislative session in Annapolis.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission is in the process of issuing final licenses to growers, processors, and dispensaries and expects medical marijuana to be available to patients this fall.

The July 19 letter to Baltimore Del. Cheryl D. Glenn, chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus, comes during a stalemate between Miller and Busch over how to revamp the medical marijuana industry — including how many more firms should be awarded licenses to grow medical marijuana.

The all-Democratic Legislative Black Caucus has implored its colleagues in the Legislature to authorize more lucrative licenses to grow the drug after none of the 15 awarded last year went to firms owned by African-Americans. Legislation that would have given a preference to minority-owned companies failed in the final minutes of the legislature’s 90-day session this spring amid disagreement about how many additional licenses should be awarded.