By Van Smith
Baltimore, Feb. 11, 2019
A new state fund would provide grants to women- and minority-owned businesses seeking participation in the state’s fast-growing medical cannabis program, if Baltimore City state Del. Nick Mosby‘s House Bill 1156 (HB 1156) becomes law this General Assembly session.
The Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission (MCC), which licenses cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries, already has the Medical Cannabis Educational and Business Development Grant Program disbursing grants of up to $45,000 to “reduce barriers to entry into the medical cannabis industry faced by small, minority-, and women-owned businesses,” as stated on the program page.
FSC did not immediately hear back from Mosby today about how his proposal, creating a Medical Cannabis Business Development Fund, would fit in with MCC’s existing grant program, and will update this post with his response.
According to the bill’s text, the new fund would be underwritten by two percent of the cannabis taxes collected by the State of Maryland and would be administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which would disburse no more than 15 percent of the fund annually.
Maryland’s $100 million medical-cannabis industry is growing fast, and analysts envision a $440-million industry by 2024. Efforts to boost entry by women and minorities have been undertaken broadly, especially after this 2017 report by Marijuana Business Daily, and at the national level have spawned organizations such as the Minority Cannabis Business Association.