State Roundup, July 21, 2016

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MORHAIM REGRETS NON-TRANSPARENCY: State Del. Dan Morhaim, who has been a leading advocate of Maryland’s medical marijuana law, said Wednesday he wished he had been more transparent about his business connection to the cannabis industry. The Baltimore County Democrat has drawn scrutiny for publicly telling the state’s medical cannabis commission how to set up the industry at the same time he agreed to work as a clinical director for a private company seeking a highly coveted license, Pamela Wood and Erin Cox of the Sun report.

  • Morhaim cleared his involvement with state ethics officials. But he never said publicly that he was part of a team applying for a license, despite repeated questions from the Post and even as he shepherded legislation this year to expand the types of medical professionals who could recommend cannabis and testified before the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission about how to administer the program, Fenit Nirappil and Aaron Gregg of the Post report.

STATE DROPS JAIL-MAIL PLAN: Under pressure from civil rights advocates, Maryland corrections officials withdrew Wednesday a proposal that would have barred inmates from receiving personal letters in the mail.  State officials said the plan to restrict incoming prison mail to postcards was meant to cut down on contraband arriving in prisons through mail, especially Suboxone, a form of buprenorphine used to treat addiction to heroin and other opiates, Alison Knezevich reports in the Sun.

CRABS, CRISFIELD & POLITICOS: It took Gov. Larry Hogan about two and half hours to drive 126 miles from Annapolis to the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield, and then it took him another two and half hours to go about 100 yards from where he arrived to the Bruce Bereano tent. Every step of the way he was mobbed for photographs, selfies, people pulling out their phones and tablets to get a shot with the popular governor, as a campaign production team recorded video, writes Len Lazarick in the photo-heavy piece on the event.

WHERE DID THE CRABS GO? Speaking of crabs, over the years, scientists have learned more about the Atlantic blue crab than just about any other species in the Chesapeake Bay. But, writes Pamela D’Angelo for WYPR-FM, there’s at least one mystery that still has them stumped. What happened to the millions of young crabs that vanished in 2012, what should have been a bumper year?

MD MINORITIES AT GOP CONFAB: Josh Hicks of the Post reports that the African Americans and Latinos who are part of Maryland’s delegation to the Republican National Convention hear the question often: What are you thinking? They are among a mere sprinkling of people of color on the convention floor this week in Cleveland, and their reasons for supporting Donald Trump as the Republican nominee are varied, sometimes even complicated.

MEET BOSSIE, THE NEW GOP BOSS: Columnist Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes that Maryland current GOP is definitely not what it used to be. Gone are stalwarts like Ellen Sauerbrey and Joyce Terhes and Audrey Scott. …  Old-time Republican liberals like Howie Denis and Connie Morella? Nowhere to be found. But there is David Bossie, the 50-year-old college dropout who is president of Citizens United and a hero to conservatives nationwide.

COMPANIES INSERT BIZ AT CONVENTIONS: Delegates gathering at party conventions in Ohio and Pennsylvania this month are never far from home-state politics — or the companies that fund them. From a major pharmaceutical firm with operations in Baltimore to the owner of Potomac Edison in Western Maryland, state interests have ponied up tens of thousands of dollars to ensure Republicans and Democrats have a good time as they nominate their presidential candidates, writes John Fritze in the Sun.

WINNERS & LOSERS IN GOP SPEECHES: The major speeches at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night revealed some cardinal strengths and weaknesses of the Republican effort to win the White House, with Ted Cruz leading in the weakness scale and both Mike Pence and Paul Ryan showing the strengths, writes Towson Professor Richard Vatz, in a column for MarylandReporter.com.

NAVY ADMIRAL MAKES CLINTON’S SHORT LIST: A Navy admiral who is under consideration to be Hillary Clinton’s presidential running mate was once a midshipman known for his intelligence and wit at the Naval Academy, Christian Jedra reports for the Annapolis Capital. Retired four-star Adm. James George Stavridis is reportedly on Clinton’s shortlist for his national security experience, according to the New York Times.

UNITY FOR HOWARD DEMS: Howard Democrats dropped the legacies of two slave-owning presidents from the title of their annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner this year. Instead, writes Fatimah Waseem for the Howard County Times, they stood behind the wide parasol of the “Democratic Unity Dinner” — a broad pivot local Democrats said embodies their party’s spirit and will carry their party forward ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this month.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this roundup about the death of reporter Helen Thomas failed to notice that she died three years ago on July 20. We’re blaming Melania Trump’s speechwriter for the mistake.