Baltimore Marilyn Mosby State Prosecutor

Maryland Cannabis Round-Up

Several exciting Maryland cannabis stories have hit the media during the past few weeks, so I am writing a post I call the “Maryland Cannabis Round-Up!

Kudos to Bloom Medicinals Maryland for making the list of the top 10 dispensaries in Maryland!

This family-owned and operated dispensary was the first to open in Germantown and is led by a team of healthcare practitioners. Their website updates the availability of menu items in real time, so patients know what is being offered before their visit. Extensive patient resources are available on their site, along with educational events for anyone who benefits from medical cannabis.

Baltimore Will No Longer Prosecute Marijuana Possession  

The dominoes are definitely falling as more and more state’s attorneys are declaring an end to the prosecution of non-violent cannabis possession cases. Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby is the latest top prosector to publicly declare that prosecuting the citizens of the city for simple cannabis possession provides no public safety value. She has vowed that her office will no longer prosecute anyone for possession, regardless of their past criminal record.

She acknowledged that black people are still disproportionately convicted of cannabis possession despite the decriminalization laws in Baltimore. They receive the majority of citations even though studies show definitively that black and white people use cannabis at similar rates. Mosby recognizes that prosecuting these cases is “costly and counterproductive to the limited resources we have in the city of Baltimore.” She described incarcerating people for cannabis possession as a moral failure of the system. Furthermore, she considers past cannabis policies as unjust where the members of the black communities are still paying a high price for behavior that is legal for millions of other Americans. She will continue to prosecute those arrested for distribution but only if there is definitive proof of their intent to distribute beyond possession.

Even more striking is her announcement that she intends to vacate almost 5,000 cannabis convictions from 2011 forward. Those who carry simple possession charges on their records are more likely to have problems finding work and/or housing. Despite Mosby’s policy change, Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle vows that he will continue to arrest people for illegal cannabis possession until the state Legislature changes the law. Mosby’s response was that she would release these people without charging them. Stay tuned for how this all plays out!

Maryland General Assembly Considers Funding Education with Cannabis Revenue 

Now that the Maryland General Assembly is back in session, one of the pressing problems is solving the funding problem for Maryland’s public schools. According to the Kirwin Commission, which was created to evaluate the necessary funding for Maryland public schools, the state government has a shortfall of $4 billion, the amount necessary to adequately fund the education system.

State Delegate from Dist 47A Julian Ivey is in favor of using cannabis legalization as a much needed funding source to satisfy the initiatives set by the Kirwin Commission. He thinks it is something that Maryland lawmakers should strongly consider. He recognizes that it might be an uphill battle to garner enough support for his idea. There has been strong support by Maryland lawmakers in using revenue generated from reducing the price of prescription drugs towards education. That may advance the prospect of recreational cannabis legalization.

If Maryland citizens vote to legalize adult-use cannabis, which may happen as soon as 2020, Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch and other lawmakers are ready with a plan to investigate how to implement it. Busch recognizes that legalizing recreational cannabis is going forward countrywide, whether or not individual lawmakers support it or not. Maryland lawmakers can investigate the adult-use laws in place in several other  states as a reference.

Maryland Professor Proposes Medical Cannabis Certification Program 

Shad Ewart, Chairman of the Business Management Department at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland proposed a 16-credit multidisciplinary program that would prepare students for entry-level careers in the cannabis industry. This all evolved from a single college course: Entrepreneurial Opportunity in Expanding Markets: Cannabis Legalization, which he started teaching in January, 2015. He had never seen students as excited and engaged about learning as he did in this course. He has about 10-12 former students working in the Maryland cannabis industry.

Ewart’s program, known as the Medical Cannabis Specialist Program, is making its way through the college’s educational planning committee. He will have the opportunity to pitch his idea and if approved, it will be presented before the entire faculty. If approved, next steps is before the Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees, then on to the Maryland Higher Education Commission who makes the final decision.

The program may be completed in just one semester over the course of 15 weeks. It includes the following:

  • chemistry
  • entrepreneurship and cannabis legalization
  • business
  • botany
  • psychology

Ewart anticipates his role as identifying jobs where students can start at entry-level and build a career. He intends to consult with cannabis industry experts in determining the knowledge, skills and abilities expected from an entry-level worker. Then, he matches that all to create a relevant curriculum. He anticipates that it would be available online, giving individuals all over the country access to this groundbreaking program.

Source: civilizedlife.com, Here Are The Top 10 Dispensaries in Maryland, Diana-Ashley Krach, 12/11/18
baltimoresun.com, Baltimore Will Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Possession, Mosby Announces, Tim Prudente, 1/30/19
hightimes.com, Cannabis Legislation Could Help Fund Education Needs In Maryland
hightimes.com, Maryland Professor Aims To Roll Out Medical Marijuana Certificate Program, Mekita Rivas, 1/24/19