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Maryland Marijuana Legalization Task Force Holds Last Meeting Before Voters Decide On Reform Ballot Initiative

Maryland lawmakers convened for another meeting on Tuesday to consider marijuana legalization issues, focusing on equity, as voters in the state are set to decide on the reform at the ballot next week.

Voters will consider a simple legalization referendum next Tuesday, and if they approve it, it will trigger the implementation of a complementary piece of regulatory implementation legislation.

Del. Luke Clippinger (D) sponsored both the referendum bill as well as the implementation measure, which Gov. Larry Hogan (R) let take effect without his signature. The delegate also serves as the chair of the legislative marijuana workgroup that’s been meeting to better understand the issue and explore regulatory options and concerns.

That group—which was formed last year by House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D)—has looked at the issue from a wide range of perspectives, exploring topics like regulatory authority, licensing and equity for those who’ve been disproportionately harmed by the drug war.

At the latest meeting, members of the Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup reviewed a presentation that looked at how other states that have legalized cannabis have addressed equity considerations, especially the lack of minority business ownership in the industry.

The presentation from Mathew Swinburne of the University of

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