Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday ordered a study of racial disparities in the state’s medical marijuana industry, the first step to justifying preferences for minority-owned businesses.
His move follows the collapse of legislative negotiations to diversify the industry after a furor over regulators awarding 15 preliminary cultivation licenses last year to a group of mostly white-owned companies.
A bill to give minority-owned groups a shot at five additional licenses failed in the General Assembly session that ended April 11.
Lawmakers have talked about reconvening in a special session to try again to pass a bill, but the Democratic presiding officers of both chambers have been in a standoff over whether to do that, based on issues unrelated to racial diversity.