Black Caucus: Special session on medical pot—or else

Black Caucus: Special session on medical pot—or else

April 12, 2017 :  Edward Ericson: City Paper 

Alternately charging corruption and imploring Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch to “do the right thing,” members of the Legislative Black Caucus threatened not to cooperate with fellow Democrats next year unless they get a special session to dole-out more medical cannabis licenses to African-American-owned companies.

“The minority community deserves a piece of the action,” attorney William H. “Billy” Murphy told a press conference at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. “Now the word is out that this is going to be a white-only business? No! That’s not the Maryland I love. It’s bad enough we have Trump, but now we’re complicating it by having friends stabbing us in the back.”

A bill that would have added five new growers to the 15 chosen last fall by the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission failed in the waning minutes of the legislative session Monday night, as Republican opponents gave speeches while the clock ran out. The Black Caucus wants to add minority-controlled companies to the list, and compromised to include two companies that the commission swapped off the list under questionable circumstances. Those companies have sued the commission, and were set to drop their suit if the bill passed.

“We’re not talking about millions of dollars,” Sen. Joan Carter Conway said. “We’re talking about a billion-dollars.”

She suggested the bill was killed deliberately by Busch: “It’s unconscionable that what happened in the last 10 minutes of the legislative session.”

Del. Cheryl Glenn, who heads the Black Caucus, seconded Conway: “Ray Charles could have seen it. That was a well-orchestrated plan to defeat the bill. To let it go down at the last minute.” Read More

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