A plan approved by a key Maryland Senate committee Friday would grant 21 new licenses to grow or process medical marijuana, but leave only 15 of them open for competition for minority-owned firms at the center of the effort to expand the industry.
The proposal endorsed by the Senate Finance Committee sets the stage for another end-of-session battle with the House of Delegates over the proper way to expand the medical marijuana industry to improve racial diversity among the state’s licensed firms.
The Senate’s version of the bill would create six new licenses to grow the drug and reserve three of them for existing medical marijuana companies. The proposal would also create 15 new licenses to process the drug; three of those would go to existing firms.
The version of the bill passed by the House creates fewer new licenses and awards them in a different way, details that have potential to derail any deal on expansion.
The full Senate could take up the measure as soon as Monday.