A second company has asked to join the lawsuit against the Maryland Cannabis Commission, alleging that it too was unfairly denied a lucrative license to grow medical marijuana.
Maryland Cultivation and Processing filed paperwork Wednesday to jointly sue the state commission with GTI Maryland.
While the two companies were ranked initially among the 15 top applicants for licenses to grow the drug, they were later excluded so the commission could instead grant preliminary licenses to two lower-ranked companies in Southern and Southeastern Maryland. Only the top 15 received approval for preliminary licenses.
The commission said it was following state law that required it to consider geographic diversity among winners.
The lawsuit, filed last week in Baltimore Circuit Court, contends the licenses to grow marijuana are worth tens of millions of dollars. It asks the court to reinstate the two companies among the top 15 applicants, effectively granting them growing licenses.
"Our interests are affected by the outcome, and we want to be sure that we've got a voice in the trial," said Ed Weidenfeld, a lawyer and partner in Maryland Cultivation and Processing. "It's my hope and expectation that GTI and Maryland Cultivation and Processing will act together because we both have been deprived of what the state of Maryland not only promised, but voted to do."
The Maryland attorney general's office, which will represent the commission, declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The program to grow medical marijuana has been delayed and beset by controversy, including a preliminary ethics investigation into a lawmaker who helped pass the law for his ties to the industry and accusations the commission failed to achieve racial diversity among marijuana winners.