On April 12, 2017, members of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus called on Gov. Larry Hogan to recall the General Assembly for a one-day legislative session aimed at passing House Bill 1443, a measure meant to help diversify the state’s medical marijuana industry.
Although state law requires that state regulators seek diversity in their licensing, none of the 15 available medical marijuana licenses went to African-American owned businesses.
Introduced by Del. Cheryl Glenn, chair of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus, HB 1443 would require the state medical marijuana commission to conduct specific outreach to women and minority owned businesses interested in entering the medical marijuana industry.
Although the measure had enough votes to pass, the legislative session ended before a full vote could take place. According to the Washington Post, this was due in part to stall tactics employed by Republican opposition.
But speaking with The Baltimore Sun, Glenn lays some of the blame on Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, who she blames for not bringing it to a vote earlier.
“They failed us, and it stings,” Glenn said. “And the way that we resolve it is the one-day special session. Let’s pick up where we left off.”
Despite the tension between caucus members and Democratic leaders, House Speaker Michael Busch told WBAL that he would support a special session and called on the governor to order a study to understand why no licenses were awarded to minority-owned businesses.