Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has ordered a study to investigate whether minorities are getting equal opportunities to become involved in the state's growing medical marijuana industry. The disparity study will be initiated by the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs, working in conjunction with the state's medical marijuana commission and transportation department.
The study was ordered in response to lobbying from the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, who have been fighting to ensure equal opportunities in the new industry. The Caucus also sponsored a recent bill that would have created more licenses to grow marijuana for minority business owners, but the bill failed to pass because the House and Senate were unable to reconcile two different versions of the bill before the legislative session ended.
The Legislative Black Caucus have called for a special session just to pass this bill, which they believe would have passed had there been enough time for final vote last legislative session. In the meantime, the disparity study will hopefully shed light on whether or not the current legislation is offering enough opportunity to minority business owners.
“As the issue of promoting diversity is of great importance to me and my administration, your office should begin this process immediately in order to ensure opportunities for minority participation in the industry,” Governor Hogan wrote to Jimmy Rhee, head of the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs.