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Maryland Court Grants Stay in Medical Marijuana Case

June 2, 2017
(SeanPavonePhoto/iStock)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s highest court on Friday agreed to hear arguments from attorneys who represent finalists for licenses to grow medical cannabis. The attorneys say their clients should be allowed to intervene in a legal case that seeks to block a state commission from awarding any more licenses until a lawsuit is resolved.

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera ordered a stay on proceedings in Baltimore City Circuit Court, where Judge Barry Williams was scheduled to hold a hearing to consider extending a temporary hold on awarding licenses that is set to expire Sunday. The stay from the Court of Appeals prevents Williams from extending his order from last week.

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“So effectively the effort to derail the medical marijuana program is on hold subject to further decisions of the Court of Appeals, and essentially the program continues unabated until that time,” said Alan Rifkin, an attorney for 13 of the 15 companies that are finalists to be licensed.

Alternative Medicine, a company that was not selected as a finalist, is suing the state over the licensing process. The company alleges the commission didn’t consider racial diversity of applicants as set in the law. Lawyers for the company asked Williams to block the commission from awarding any more licenses until the case is resolved.

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So far, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has only awarded one final license. ForwardGro, which is based in Stevensville, received the first license to grow marijuana last month. Some growers hope to have cannabis available for patients by the end of the summer.

Maryland’s medical marijuana rollout has been delayed by setbacks for more than four years. The state approved its first medical marijuana law in 2013. The effort stalled, however, because it required academic medical centers to run the programs, and none stepped forward. The law was changed in 2014 to allow doctors certified by a state commission to recommend cannabis for patients with debilitating, chronic or severe illnesses.

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  • Malia Forney

    This sucks for the patients, but it is important for the future of diverse medical marijuana business in Maryland. The state broke the law that it created and didn’t hand out any licenses to business with an owner of color (which is apart of the conditions of medical legalization). 15 licenses went out and none to a black owner even though 80 percent of marijuana arrest in MD are of black people. I say they shouldn’t be able to progress until they fix this problem. This is their chance to be on the right side of history and sucks thats going to take time, but if they weren’t racists in the first place, this wouldn’t be a problem now.

  • Am

    True, but it is nonsense that the state was supposed to base the licenses on race. this concept in and of itself is backwards of everything this country has achieved in the last 70 years. You sound pretty racist yourself. Look in the mirror