House Speaker Michael E. Busch removed Del. Dan K. Morhaim, the longest serving physician in the General Assembly, from a key health policy committee post that Morhaim held for 14 years.
The shift, which costs Morhaim a subcommittee leadership post, follows scrutiny over Morhaim's ties to a medical marijuana company and questions over whether he properly disclosed his business interests while advocating for medical marijuana policies.
Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat, has said he broke no rules and promised to cooperate with the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. The ethics committee considered in October whether to launch a formal, confidential probe into Morhaim's conduct. No further action has been taken.
Morhaim will now sit on the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees legal and criminal issues.
He is also clinical director of Doctor's Orders, a medical marijuana company that won a license to operate a dispensary in Baltimore. Morhaim was the chief architect of the state's medical marijuana program, and advised state officials about how to set up the program after he agreed to work with Doctor's Orders. He did not disclose that relationship.
Morhaim said he was "looking forward to being a member of the House Judiciary Committee and working on a number of important issues, including juvenile justice reform, drug law reform and harm reduction, rape kit testing policy, update of last year's Justice Reinvestment Act, and any changes to tort and punitive damages law."
Busch, also a Democrat, also announced other leadership assignments to fill vacancies created by the resignation last month of longtime Baltimore lawmaker Pete Hammen, who joined Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's administration.
Del. Shane E. Pendergrass, a Howard County Democrat, will lead the Health and Government Operations Committee. She has been vice chair since 2007. Baltimore County Democrat Eric M. Bromwell will become vice chair.
The annual 90-day General Assembly session begins Wednesday in Annapolis.