By: Krystle Crossman
Cannabis is becoming legal in more states these days. The economies of these states are growing from the revenue. There are more jobs available because people are able to grow legally for profit. Maryland is one of the latest states to legally allow people to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes. People will grow the plants and then sell them to the medical marijuana dispensaries around the state and make a profit. The dispensaries then sell to patients with a prescription for the marijuana. Maryland is expected to bring in quite a bit of cash from this new initiative. They are estimating that they will make $60 billion in profit from medical marijuana by the year 2020. Sadly not everyone is able to rake in the profits because it seems that a certain group is being excluded for the time being.
African-Americans make up over 30% of Maryland’s population. It is safe to assume that there are some black entrepreneurs out there ready to start making a profit from the medical marijuana business. However out of the 15 businesses that have been granted licenses to operate, not a single one is black-owned. Democratic delegate Cheryl Glenn states that this business will not thrive without minority participation. Glenn is even thinking about filing an injunction so that the application process will be halted temporarily until the matter is addressed.
Minorities will be granted licenses in the future according to a spokesperson from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, but not until 2018. They claim that they want a diverse group but need to see what the supply and demand is in the first year since all of this is so new to everyone. This does not seem to be the case however since there are black entrepreneurs such as a man named Darryl Hill who has all of the qualifications they were looking for but was still denied a license. The MMCC says that the businesses that are participating in growing the cannabis need to submit a report every year that states what the races of their employees are along with other information so that they can see how diverse their workforce really is. Some people are wondering if this is actually the case or whether they are doing this to try and stall having black-owned companies from being given licenses.