Maryland regulators handed out 11 long-awaited cultivation and processing business permits.
The state’s Medical Cannabis Commission licensed three cultivation and eight processing companies on Thursday, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The cultivation permits went to Viola Maryland, Herbiculture Cultivation and MAS Alliance.
The processing permits went to Herbiculture Manufacturing, Organic Remedies MD, Bouquet Labs, Element MD, AHI Group, Ceres Naturals, Marileaves Extractions and Greener Good.
The market expansion has been in the works for more than two years – since the first 15 cultivation permits were given to all white-owned companies, which caused an uproar among stakeholders of color who argued the industry should be more diverse.
By contrast, the 11 new licensees are at least half-owned by individuals who are women, minorities or “disadvantaged” in some fashion, the Sun reported.