On Sept. 19, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission was sued over the 15 provisional licenses it issued earlier this year. The lawsuit was brought by GTI-Maryland, a medical cannabis company which said it was included in the original list of approved providers before being dropped. The civil lawsuit was filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
“We are filing this lawsuit because the Commission’s removal of GTI from the top 15 list was improper and illegal,” said Pete Kadens, strategic partner of GTI-Maryland. “We earned pre-approval for a license, and we want what is rightfully ours. Any further delay will only hurt patients who need medical cannabis to ease their suffering.”
GTI-Maryland is a division of GTI, which is based in Illinois. Several investors in GTI-Maryland are prominent African Americans in Maryland including Gerald Boyd Sr., president of DB Consulting, and Eugene Monroe, former Baltimore Ravens player. Sterling Crockett Sr., former chair of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, is the general manager of GTI-Maryland.
In a press conference on Sept. 21 GTI-Maryland outlined its version of events: On July 27, 15 companies, out of hundreds of applicants, were given pre-approval to become licensed providers. GTI-Maryland was on that list. On July 29 a subcommittee of the Commission removed GTI and another company and replaced them with two lower scoring companies in the name of geographic diversity. On Aug. 15 the Commission accepted the subcommittee’s changes.
“We want to know what happened in the 48 hours between July 27 and [July] 29 to cause the subcommittee’s turnabout,” said Crockett. “We want full transparency and disclosure about all contacts with subcommittee members during that time. We want to know if members spoke with or heard from anyone who caused them to change their minds.”
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission did not respond to a request for comment.
Del. Cheryl Glenn, who will be holding a closed door hearing on the lack of racial diversity in the list of companies awarded licenses in October, told the AFRO: “This is a fight to end the economic subterfuge against minorities. This battle will be fought on several fronts – from the courthouse, to the statehouse, to the streets. I, personally, commend GTI for pushing forward with their lawsuit. As an affected party they are uniquely positioned to judicially freeze the process allowing us legislators time to act, and organizers time to galvanize minorities in every neighborhood, in every district across the state. To the folks who thought they could pull wool over our eyes and cut minorities out of another multi-billion dollar industry – you thought wrong”