The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission announced yesterday that it will hire a diversity consultant to examine what steps it could take to improve racial diversity in the state’s medical marijuana industry. The announcement comes after a losing applicant for a medical marijuana license filed a lawsuit against the Commission alleging that its selection process for coveted marijuana growing licenses ignored a statutory mandate to consider the racial diversity of the applicants. The complaint alleges that the Commission was “derelict in its legislatively mandated duty to ‘actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity when licensing medical cannabis growers.’”
Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus has also criticized the lack of racial diversity in the Commission’s licensing process. Of the 30 business that were cleared for growing and process licenses in 2016, minorities held leadership positions in only two.