Legal Weed Remains a Mess
The process for legal marijuana in Maryland remains challenging, and a new Constitutional Amendment isn't going to fix it
The legal weed regime in Maryland remains a total mess.
As I have written before, marijuana legalization in Maryland has been a boondoggle from the very start. Instead of creating a free market that allows marijuana growers and distributors to grow their businesses free of regulation, the Democrats have created a quasi-state controlled industry where the state government picks winners and losers. And the winners tend to be politically connected Democrats.
And it’s this regime that causes this to happen:
Medical cannabis has grown into a $600-million-a-year industry in Maryland since the first pre-rolled joint was sold legally in 2017, but Black Baltimoreans are largely left out.
Baltimore, which is 62% Black, has 10 dispensaries. Some are locally owned. Others are owned by multistate corporations. None have majority Black ownership. And only one dispensary is located in a Black neighborhood.
Some of the same Democrats who pushed for medical marijuana legalization, the same Democrats who pushed for a complicated medical marijuana licensing regime, and some of the same Democrats who want to continue to push legal weed are disturbed that there have not been enough minority set-asides for dispensary ownership.
Instead of allowing the free market to run its course, Democrats have created a regime that essentially has locked out African-American business owners from owning a dispensary.
All of this could have been avoided, mind you, had dispensaries never entered into the equation and medical marijuana was distributed just like any other controlled substance.
But there is no money in fixing the way growing and dispensary licenses are awarded. There is certainly no money in doing the right thing and getting the state out of the business of limiting the number of dispensary licenses available. This is why as we prepare for a referendum this fall on the legalization of weed-smoking for all adults, none of those existing provisions of the law are going to change.
Legalizing marijuana is, of course, an idiotic idea. The medical damage will be immense, and that says nothing of the fact that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. But the fact that Maryland Democrats have learned nothing from the botched rollout of medical marijuana tells you everything you need about the future of weed in Maryland.
Brian - if mj is illegal shouldn’t alcohol and tobacco be as well?