Gov. Larry Hogan announced several new and returning members to the state commission that regulates Maryland’s medical cannabis industry.
A 2018 law required the state to dissolve and re-form the medical cannabis commission, effective Tuesday.
Hogan, who fully controls nine seats on the 13-member commission, announced that the following five members will return:
- Brian Lopez, chairman, who fills a seat for an executive with experience in finance. He is a partner and executive vice president of Osprey Property Co.
- Dr. Ehsan Abdeshahian, returning to a seat for a medical provider. He is a physician with Advanced Pain Management Specialists.
- Charles P. LoDico, returning to a seat for a scientist with experience with cannabis. He is a senior chemist and toxicologist for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Saundra O. Washington, returning to a seat for a professional with experience in health and addiction. She is executive director of a Southern Maryland nonprofit called Lifestyles Inc.
- Scott Welsh, returning to a seat for an agricultural professional. He is the owner of Maryland Flower and Foliage.
Hogan also announced two new members:
- Dr. C. Obi Onyewu will hold a seat for a medical provider. He is a physician who specializes in pain medicine with Choice Pain & Rehabilitation.
- Mary Lynn McPherson will hold a seat for a pharmacist. She holds a doctoral degree in pharmacy and is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
Hogan controls two more seats that need to be filled, and nominees for those seats are still under consideration, said Mike Ricci, a spokesman for the governor.
The governor also must name three members from a list of nominations made by state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones.
The state’s health secretary, currently Robert R. Neall, or his designee, serves as the final member of the commission.
The reformulation of the cannabis commission comes at a crucial time, as the state is in the midst of awarding licenses for additional companies to grow and process cannabis. The additional licenses were created as part of the 2018 law with the goal of bringing increased diversity to the fledgling industry.
The cannabis commission put the awarding of the licenses on hold last week, after a company that was not considered for a license secured a temporary restraining order. The commission had ruled that the company, Remileaf, missed the application deadline, which the company disputes.
The commission has also come under criticism from the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, which has raised concerns about whether minority companies based in Maryland had a fair shot at the licenses.