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Race and Weed in Maryland

Of 15 medical marijuana licenses the state awarded last year, none went to African Americans. Larry Hogan, Maryland’s GOP governor, has ordered a study to find out why.
Delegate Cheryl Glenn, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, supports a racial disparity study to make sure minority entrepreneurs get a shot at the state's new medical marijuana industry. So does Maryland's GOP governor.
Delegate Cheryl Glenn, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, supports a racial disparity study to make sure minority entrepreneurs get a shot at the state's new medical marijuana industry. So does Maryland's GOP governor. Brian Witte/AP

The movement for racial equity in the medical cannabis trade appears to be going bipartisan—last week, Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, ordered the state to conduct a study on whether racial disparities exist in the process for obtaining a state license for growing or selling medical marijuana.

This doesn’t seem like a thing that needs much studying: Of the initial 15 preliminary licenses awarded by the Medical Cannabis Commission last year to grow the plant, none of them went to a company owned or controlled by an African American. That’s a pretty clear disparity. And it didn’t need to be that way.