By Van Smith
Baltimore, Jan. 23, 2109
FSC’s first look at the Maryland cannabis industry’s donations to state political campaigns focused on licensed growers. Adding processors and dispensaries to the mix expands the picture, but only slightly. Since 2015, 19 cannabis businesses licensed by the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission (MCC) have given a total of $124,850 to 48 Maryland political campaign committees.
The top recipients were House Speaker Mike Bush (D-District 30A, Anne Arundel County) with $13,000; Gov. Larry Hogan (R) with $12,000; Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller (D-27th District, Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert counties) with $10,000; state Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-11th District, Baltimore County) with $9,600; and recently retired state Del. Dan Morhaim (D-11th District, Baltimore County) with $7,975. The top-donating businesses were Holistic Industries ($48,500), ForwardGro ($26,375), Curio ($13,500), SunMed Growers ($12,500), and GTI Maryland ($11,250), the only dispensary licensee to jump so deeply into the political game.
GTI is a national cannabis company operating dispensaries under the RISE chain, and its Maryland entity operates as RISE Silver Spring. GTI Maryland’s biggest beneficiary, with $7,000, was Maryland Alliance for Progress PAC, described by the Washington Post as a “developer-funded super PAC” that, as noted by Seventh State blog, largely has undwritten efforts in support of Laurel mayor Craig Moe. Last year, Moe ran unsuccessfully for the First District seat on the Prince George’s County Council.