- Associated Press - Thursday, September 1, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The chairman of Maryland’s medical marijuana commission says the panel is committed to promoting racial diversity in the state’s developing medical marijuana industry.

Dr. Paul Davies wrote Thursday the panel will work with the legislature on the issue.

Critics have noted a lack of diversity in applicants selected as finalists to grow and process marijuana. They say the law required the commission to “actively seek to achieve” racial, ethnic and geographic diversity.

But Davies writes that a March attorney general’s letter of advice found the panel couldn’t conduct race-conscious licensing without a disparity study showing past discrimination in similar programs, and the letter’s author wasn’t aware of such a study on licensing.

Rachel Coombs, an attorney general spokeswoman, says the panel wasn’t prohibited from conducting a disparity study.

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