Maryland medical marijuana grower sues to halt licensing process

A Maryland medical marijuana cultivation company that failed to win one of the state’s preliminary business licenses filed an emergency motion asking a judge to block the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission from issuing final grow permits.

In its filing, Alternative Medicine Maryland argued the commission did not follow the law because it failed to consider an applicant’s race when handing out the preliminary grower licenses, The Baltimore Sun reported.

None of the 15 winning companies are led by African-Americans. The commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the status of the preliminary licenses.

The lack of diversity is also an issue in the Maryland General Assembly, where the Legislative Black Caucus called for five additional licenses to be issued to boost the odds that minority growers would receive a permit. But the legislative session finished last month before any action was taken.

Maryland is studying the state’s developing medical marijuana industry to ensure opportunities for minority participation.

Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan director the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs to work together with the medical marijuana commission and the transportation department on the study.

The governor and state lawmakers are also considering whether to call legislators back for a special session to mull options to boost diversity among growers.