Fight for Black Medical Cannabis Dispensers Continues

Fight for Black Medical Cannabis Dispensers Continues

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The fight to get African Americans legally registered to produce and dispense medical marijuana in Maryland is far from over. Different varieties of marijuana flowers are displayed at medical marijuana dispensary. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka) Cheryl Glenn, chair of Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus (LBC), recently urged Maryland residents to join the LBC and demand the state’s lawmakers call a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to vote on legislation providing opportunities for African Americans to access the state’s lucrative new medical marijuana industry. “It’s time to call on your delegate or senator to support the petition for a special session. The issue of African Americans purposely being excluded from this multi-billion-dollar industry of medical marijuana in the state of Maryland is institutional racism at its worse,” exclaimed Glenn to the applause of residents gathered for the first of four town hall meetings the LBC organized this summer. Maryland’s nascent medical marijuana program has been fraught with controversy since the establishment of the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission. The LaPrade Commission, named in honor of Glenn’s mother, is responsible for approving application for growers and dispensers of medical marijuana. Currently 15 businesses are approved for provisional licenses—none of them African-American owned establishments. Permanent licenses will be issued in August. Glenn introduced legislation in the 2017 Maryland General Assembly Session stipulating five licenses for African-American growers/distributors. Glenn sought to add teeth to state law requiring the LaPrade Commission to seek diversity. Glenn’s bill would have also reconstituted the LaPrade Commission. The legislation failed to be introduced on the floor of the Legislature in the final hours of the General Assembly session that ended in April. “Senator Joan Carter Conway and myself have been working on this issue every day since the session ended. The issues that were controversial have been […]

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