Everyone in the greater area of Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland are all but excited with new medical marijuana program. The new medical marijuana program is expected to offer great help in terms of medical needs of patients in the areas mentioned. But, the Maryland medical panel unexpectedly met with criticism in terms of diversity.
Recently, the Maryland Marijuana Commission is faced with criticism for not considering racial diversity. In height of this issue, the Commission announced Monday that they will hire a diversity consultant as first step to improve diversity in the medical marijuana industry in the state of Maryland. The new consultant will handle what other steps could be taken to resolve this issue.
The problem started with denied applicants of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission that not enough measures were taken to ensure that their fairness and diversity in the selection process for licensing. Maryland is the state that’s been moving quite faster than most US states that have recently allowed for medical marijuana to be cultivated and consumed. Following this, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission unveiled to the public their selected rankings of potential growers and processors. These were expected to lead the medical marijuana industry in Maryland and among them the Commission has already selected who will be licensed to operate in the state.
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Apart from failing to consider diversity in the licensing selection process, the medical cannabis commission is also facing criticism seeing as quite a few of the highest ranking applicants were all turned down. But for the meantime, they elected to hire a diversity consultant to deal with the issue of failing to consider racial diversity in the selection process for licensed medical marijuana operators. As part of resolving the issue, Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission will hire a diversity consultant to review what steps should be taken or not in order to improve diversity in the state’s marijuana industry. It will be the consultant’s job to find out if it’s feasible to conduct a study determining of the minorities were treated unfairly.
Ideally, this study will let the Maryland Commission to include race when they award licenses to who are permitted to cultivate, process and distribute medical marijuana. The Commission’s announcement happened following the lawsuit filed alleging that race has been ignored as a factor for evaluating applicants for medical marijuana licenses. In the selected operators, one might notice that almost all the firms that won licenses are owned by white people.
As such, the African-American lawmakers are calling for a stop to the licensing process. According to state law, the commission is required to seek a way for racial diversity to be achieved and in that, they decided to follow the state attorney general’s office’s advice. According to the attorney general‘s office, it is unconstitutional to decline including race-based selection criteria in their selection process without a disparity study. On that note, the Commission decided to hire a consultant but promises that the licensing process will not be halted. The medical marijuana commission’s plan of hiring a diversity consultant was announced in a meeting at Ellicott City.