Md. Black Caucus tallies wins, losses

Md. Black Caucus tallies wins, losses

April 20, 2017: Brianna Rhodes: Delmarva Now

The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus ended the 2017 session with mixed outcomes for their priority legislative agenda. The General Assembly passed legislation on prescription drug affordability and a ban on pre-kindergarten suspension. But the House failed to vote on controversial medical marijuana legislation before time ran out. And a bill regarding bail did not get to the floor of that same chamber.

Legislation that would encourage minority-owned businesses in Maryland’s medical marijuana industry failed in the last minutes of the legislative session on Sine Die, April 10. Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore, led a press conference April 12, calling for an urgent special session of the legislature to pass the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission Reform Act, House bill 1443. The bill would increase diversity in medical marijuana grower licenses. It would grant up to five more growing licenses and increase the likelihood they would go to minority-owned businesses.

Sample-Hughes, who was a part of the work group for the legislation, said that she was disheartened to see it fail but she remains optimistic for a resolution. Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr.  released a statement April 12 in support of a special session called by the Black Caucus, “…either by call of the Governor or by call of the General Assembly with the signatures of a majority of each Chamber.” House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, also released a statement last week, saying he would support a special session after a study of disparities in the industry. “Given the cloud that has hovered over this entire program and the 2017 legislative session, we must be entirely transparent and give the public confidence in the decisions that we make,” the statement read. Read More

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