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Maryland medical marijuana panel will hire diversity consultant

November 29th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Cannabis Commission announced Monday it will hire a consultant to review what steps — if any — it could take to improve diversity in the state's nascent medical marijuana industry.

The consultant will determine if it is feasible to conduct a study of whether minorities have been unfairly excluded from the industry, among other tasks. Such a determination would allow Maryland to consider race when awarding licenses to grow, process or distribute marijuana for medical use.

The announcement follows the filing of a lawsuit alleging the commission improperly ignored race when evaluating applicants for licenses, and calls by African-American lawmakers to halt the licensing process.

Nearly all the firms that have won preliminary licenses are owned by white men.

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