Instrumental in the creation of a medical cannabis program, her downfall points to its structural failings.
I’ve stopped spending time with people if they’re not, um, donating…Cheryl Glenn as quoted in Wednesday’s plea agreement
Former Del. Glenn pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from a number of interests including at least one as yet one unnamed out-of-state cannabis company. The 12 year incumbent democrat who unexpectedly resigned before Christmas has acted as a cooperating witness for at least 7 months since initially being confronted by two FBI agents back in February.
She evidently is on very good terms with these agents as she is reported to have given both long hugs at the conclusion of her plea hearing. The extent of her cooperation and who, if anyone, is yet to be implicated is anyone’s guess. That this points to problems with Maryland’s approach to medical cannabis is undeniable.
Glenn, who was instrumental in the legalization of medical cannabis in the state and whose late-mother is the namesake of the Natalie M LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) has pleaded guilty to accepting over $30,000 in cash bribes from an out-of-state cannabis vendor to facilitate its entry into Maryland’s state sanctioned 120-license medical cannabis marketplace. Later she accepted more money from a local business owner for introducing legislation that would favor local businesses in the application process.
Ms Glenn, who publicly championed for minority and small bushiness access to Maryland’s cannabis marketplace, was frank in private “I’ve stopped spending time with people if they’re not, um, donating,”
Ms Glen admits that personal financial pressures led her to accept bribes from at least two of the hundreds of businesses competing for a handful slots in Maryland’s pre-fabricated limited license marijuana marketplace. This should not have been possible.
On the Cannabis Economy Podcast GTI-Rise CEO and heir to the Jim Beam fortune, Ben Kovler, when asked about the value of acquiring these highly sought after licenses, “being in control of a limited supply, high demand business, well it seems pretty obvious…” It should also be obvious that, in creating these small lucrative markets, choosing a handful of players out of a large pool of applicants, puts the power to make and break fortunes in the hands of elected and appointed governmental officials and creates obvious incentives and opportunities for those willing and able to pay and accept bribes.
The best way to fulfill the stated goal of Maryland’s medical cannabis statute to “provide safe and affordable access to patients across the state” is also the best way to eliminate corruption, questions of favoritism and discrimination. Take away the arbitrary license caps and other regulations that give officials the ability to “discriminate”. This power should be put it where it is least likely to be corrupted, in the hands of the consumer.
Simple easy to follow rules, with low fees and no other arbitrary barriers have led to thousands of issued licenses in Oregon and Oklahoma without any of the delays, corruption and inequality we have seen in Maryland and other restricted-license states.
After 7 month’s of reported cooperation we have yet to hear the last of Ms Glenn’s saga. She was not part of a single member body, did she implicate any fellow lawmakers? The Governor’s office is actually most structurally vulnerable to corruption as it is in the governor’s power to choose the leadership and appoint all members of the 17 member all-powerful Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) which is charged with the establishment of rules and regulations and holds large portions of its meetings in secret, behind closed doors.
In light of these now confirmed allegations against former Del. Glenn we should ask for a reversal of the strategies and policies that she helped craft and which led to her downfall. We now have irrefutable proof that there was corrupt purpose in at least part of the establishment of this exclusive marketplace. As taxpayers, patients and consumers we should demand an immediate relief from this corrupted marketplace in the form of legal homegrow and a new marketplace determined not by lawmakers or an un-elected body but by patient consumer preferences.