The Maryland General Assembly has convened a taskforce to study the legalization of cannabis in the state. The findings and conclusions of the taskforce will go far in determining if the legislature will consider legalizing adult use cannabis in the state coming session or pass on the issue to voters through a ballot initiative.
The taskforce will have several subcommittees tasked with exploring the impact of legalization on public health and criminal justice, as well as best approaches for taxation, licensing and social equity – this was a hot-button issue which led to multiple lawsuits when medical marijuana was legalized in the state.
According to William Tilburg, Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission’s Director of policy and government affairs, Maryland has 15 licensed medical marijuana cultivators, 18 licensed processors, and 77 operating dispensaries at the moment. Last year, Maryland’s medical cannabis sales totaled $109 million. Tilburg noted that less than 1% of the country’s cannabis businesses are owned by African Americans, and stressed the need for diversity in Maryland’s licensing should recreational marijuana legalization move forward.
Del. Nick J. Mosby (D-Baltimore), a taskforce member, urged the body to get rid of caps on the number of licenses issued in Maryland. According to Mosby, there is no sense in limiting licenses in an industry that’s doing so well, as this would result in sharing the projected $86 million over six months to only a handful of folks.
The established taskforce includes four Republicans and nine Democrats.