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Md. Black Caucus upset with approval of first medical marijuana license

The chair of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus is expressing "shock" at news that the state's cannabis commission has given final approval to the first license to grow medical marijuana.

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- The chair of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus is expressing "shock" at news that the state's cannabis commission has given final approval to the first license to grow medical marijuana.

Forward Grow, a company which has invested more than $8 million to build a warehouse in Anne Arundel County to grow medical cannabis, has been given approval to proceed with their project.

But Baltimore City Delegate Cheryl Glenn, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, says she was told that final licenses would not be issued until August.

Delegate Glenn and other Black Caucus members have voiced concern about what they call the lack of racial diversity in the awarding of licenses.

Fifteen companies have been given preliminary approval to grow medical cannabis and 15 other firms have won preliminary approval to process medical pot.

The Black Caucus supported a bill in the final days of the 2017 General Assembly session which would have expanded the number of licenses to grow and process medical marijuana.

But the measure died in the final minutes of the 90 day session, when the House and Senate could not agree on a compromise bill.

Delegate Glenn is still calling for a special session of the General Assembly later this year in efforts to reconsider a bill to expand the licenses.

Glenn says "I mean I think that everybody wants to get there, in terms of ensuring that there's diversity and African-American ownership in this multi-million dollar industry of medical marijuana."

Three firms, which were denied preliminary licenses to either grow or process medical marijuana, have filed suit challenging how the Maryland Cannabis Commission reviewed and awarded licenses.

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