Maryland medical marijuana licensing faces another lawsuit

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A third Maryland applicant for a medical cannabis business license has filed suit against the state and is claiming the commission that awarded MMJ business permits didn’t follow its own rules.

The suit could further delay the rollout of the state’s MMJ program, which has already been pushed back by nearly a year.

The new lawsuit, filed Monday in Baltimore City Circuit Court by Alternative Medicine Maryland, is asking a judge to stall the program “until the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission takes action to ensure racial and ethnic diversity among licensed growers,” the Washington Post reported.

The suit argues that the commission was supposed to consider racial diversity when evaluating license applicants, it failed to do so, and none of the 15 companies that won cultivation permits are headed by African-Americans, according to the Post. Alternative Medicine Maryland is 80% black-owned.

The commission has declined to comment on the suit.

Also challenging the commission, in one lawsuit, are GTI Maryland and Maryland Cultivation and Processing, the Post reported, both of which contend the commission inappropriately awarded permits to lower-scoring applicants. The commission has said that it was forced to do so in order to comply with geographic requirements.