2nd firm joins suit over med­i­cal pot li­censes

Com­pa­nies say they were un­fairly ex­cluded by agency

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Erin Cox ecox@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Eri­natTheSun

A sec­ond com­pany has asked to join the law­suit against the Mary­land Cannabis Com­mis­sion, al­leg­ing that it too was un­fairly de­nied a lu­cra­tive li­cense to grow med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

Mary­land Cul­ti­va­tion and Pro­cess­ing filed pa­per­work Wed­nes­day to jointly sue the state com­mis­sion with GTI Mary­land.

While the two com­pa­nies were ranked ini­tially among the 15 top ap­pli­cants for li­censes to grow the drug, they were later ex­cluded so the com­mis­sion could in­stead grant pre­lim­i­nary li­censes to two low­er­ranked com­pa­nies in South­ern and South­east­ern Mary­land. Only the top 15 re­ceived ap­proval for pre­lim­i­nary li­censes.

The com­mis­sion said it was fol­low­ing state law that re­quired it to con­sider ge­o­graphic di­ver­sity among win­ners.

The law­suit, filed last week in Bal­ti­more Cir­cuit Court, con­tends the li­censes to grow mar­i­juana are worth tens of mil­lions of dol­lars. It asks the court to re­in­state the two com­pa­nies among the top 15 ap­pli­cants, ef­fec­tively grant­ing them growing li­censes.

“Our in­ter­ests are af­fected by the out­come, and we want to be sure that we’ve got a voice in the trial,” said Ed Wei­den­feld, a lawyer and part­ner in Mary­land Cul­ti­va­tion and Pro­cess­ing. “It’s my hope and ex­pec­ta­tion that GTI and Mary­land Cul­ti­va­tion and Pro­cess­ing will act to­gether be­cause we both have been deprived of what the state of Mary­land not only promised, but voted to do.”

The pro­gram to grow med­i­cal mar­i­juana has been de­layed and be­set by con­tro­versy, in­clud­ing a pre­lim­i­nary ethics in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a law­maker who helped pass the law for his ties to the in­dus­try and ac­cu­sa­tions the com­mis­sion failed to achieve racial di­ver­sity among mar­i­juana win­ners.

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