Access and Diversity Problem? Former MMCC Commissioners Say No

In a new twist of drama, 3 former MMCC comisioners with vital roles in the creation of the current Maryland medical cannabis market-place wrote a testy rebuke to current head of that agency stating that they “were indeed committed to ensuring racial diversity” when weighting scores for candidates for MMCC business licenses. They go through the history:

  1. Diversity was initially a weighted factor in license application reviews.
  2. The attorney general intervened on constitutional grounds asserting that diversity could only be a factor if an outside study could show that Maryland’s medical cannabis market was already less diverse than others.
  3. A study was conducted in 2017 and Maryland was found to be super-diverse

“In June 2017, the MMCC released diversity data based on survey responses from 79 pre-approved applicants representing a total of 321 business owners and 238 employees (11 growers, 9 processors, and 59 dispensaries). Interestingly, these survey data clearly showed a higher rate of minority ownership (over 35% of those with an ownership stake) relative to the national average of 19% of respondents who launched a cannabis business and/or have an ownership stake.”

January 7, 2020 Baltimore Sun Opinion from former commissioners Eric E. Sterling, Debra Miran and Hannah Byron

There are obvious holes in their methodology. In 2017 the 3 states with the largest actively regulated medical cannabis programs, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, were significantly less diverse than Maryland. A similar analysis of apartheid era South African industries would also have shown them to be more diverse than cohorts in Iceland, Norway and Finland. I am not impressed.

The former commissioners end their column on a triumphant note claiming,

“…some significant success in achieving the state’s objective to enable minority participation and provide medical cannabis to patients in need.”

January 7, 2020 Baltimore Sun Opinion from former commissioners Eric E. Sterling, Debra Miran and Hannah Byron
Just 18 months in and with over 7,000 licensees issued: Oklahoma has approximately 14 licenses to every stakeholder counted by the 2017 study.

As these former commissioners congratulate themselves it is important to note that at the time of this heralded study Maryland regulators had already spent 63 months fashioning our current oligopoly. In June of 2017 only 559 stakeholders and employees could be counted and categorized and patients had still another 6 month wait for overpriced herb.

Oklahoma, now just 18 months into the same process, has had home-grow and legal sales for over a year and has issued over 7,000 total business licenses. There is no question as to which state has done better job at providing medicine to “those in need”. I would be willing to bet money that Oklahoma, despite its demographics and politics, has more minority stakeholders as well.

Help Us Legalize Home Grow!

Please sign our petition linked here to tell our governor and legislators that Maryland patients deserve the same rights as those in Oklahoma, Michigan and Maine!!

Published by mdcannaconsumer

A cannabis consumer since coming of age in 1990’s Kingston Jamaica. Committed to influencing cannabis legislation and regulation to promote patient-consumer interests in product-quality, affordability and safe access. I believe the best way to achieve these goals is through legalized patient home-grow and a vibrant market where businesses large and small are allowed to compete for patient preferences.

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