ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (Cannabist) — The Maryland medical marijuana commission is taking steps toward evaluating minority participation in the state’s nascent cannabis industry, the panel’s executive director said Monday after critics complained of a lack of minority-owned businesses among finalists to grow and the process the drug.
Patrick Jameson said key factors are still evolving and changing by the day as the industry gets established, but the commission highly encourages applicants for these licenses to “engage and recruit minority owners, investors and employees where practical.”
The plan is to hire a diversity consultant to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a disparity study on hiring practices in the industry, and “we would look for their recommendations,” Jameson said. “The commission believes that diversity is essential, an important and a key component to this industry.”
The commission also met in closed session to discuss litigation over the licensing, said Dr. Paul Davies, the commission’s chairman. Two would-be growers are suing the panel after initially scoring in the top 15, only to be replaced by other companies to address geographic diversity. Another applicant is suing over the lack of diversity evident thus far.
The 15 growers and 15 processors named as finalists must pass background checks before being awarded a license.