A Racial Equity Test for Medical Cannabis in Maryland

By | May 5, 2017

The movement for racial equity in the medical cannabis trade appears to be going bipartisan—last week, Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, ordered the state to conduct a study on whether racial disparities exist in the process for obtaining a state license for growing or selling medical marijuana.

This doesn’t seem like a thing that needs much studying: Of the initial 15 preliminary licenses awarded by the Medical Cannabis Commission last year to grow the plant, none of them went to a company owned or controlled by an African American. That’s a pretty clear disparity. And it didn’t need to be that way.

The Maryland law that legalizes growing and selling medical cannabis includes language directing the Medical Cannabis Commission to “actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity” when licensing new growers and dispensaries. Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus and the African American Cannabis Association have been pressing the state to make good on that language. (CityLab)

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