Collins: Medical marijuana goes up in smoke

Just when you thought the cloud surrounding Maryland’s “medical” marijuana scheme couldn’t get any worse … it did. State auditors recently found that the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission may have violated state procurement law and is overpaying for consulting services … and has not paid its bills. This type of bungling really should not shock anybody. Maryland’s “medical” marijuana program has been rife with conflicts since its inception.

Sea Grant sustains many marine jobs, but faces uncertain future

Once a month, Matt Parker and Suzanne Bricker drive along Penny Lane through a Southern Maryland forest until it dead-ends at the Chesapeake Bay. Then, they pull on their waders and hop into a skiff to maneuver out to aquaculture cages, where they grab samples of water and the oysters taking it in. Their results may eventually let oyster growers earn money not only for the bivalves they grow, but also for the water the shellfish clean under the state’s nascent nutrient trading program. But partnerships like Parker’s and Bricker’s won’t be happening in the Chesapeake, or anywhere else, if the Trump administration’s proposed budget is approved later this year. The work is funded by Maryland Sea Grant — one of 33 Sea Grant programs around the nation that help translate science into sustainable coastal economies.

Hogan strategy on Trump budget cuts works — Let Congress do its job

Gov. Larry Hogan’s strategy on President Trump’s budget apparently worked: Shut up and let the Maryland’s members of Congress do their job. Democratic officials and party leaders had demanded the Republican governor stand up to Trump and resist plans to cut funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, medical research at the National Institutes of Health, and funding for the Affordable Care Act. Hogan said it was up to Congress to act on the president’s budget, and a spokesman said the governor would act if and when the cuts actually happened.

Fed up with Annapolis, McDonough sets sights on Towson executive

Delegate Pat McDonough has “had it with the legislature,” he said. “It will be torture for me even to go back for the last session,” said the populist conservative from Middle River in Baltimore County. Now the four-term delegate has set his sights on the Towson courthouse, hoping to become county executive for Maryland’s third largest county that has turned more Republican over the past decade, particularly on its east side.

Rascovar: Get ready for Maryland’s Democratic circus in race for governor

If the election for Maryland governor were held tomorrow, Alec Ross would win: He’s the only one who officially has announced his candidacy. Alec who? Get ready for a circus of a gubernatorial campaign among Democrats. Ross is just the first of what could be a carload of clowns pouring out of a small VW Bug with the bumper sticker: “Dump Hogan.” Good luck on that one.

Ellicott City stairway catches the eye and stormwater

An earthquake, and then a flood, forced officials to repair a parking lot retaining wall in hilly Ellicott City. Howard County’s innovative repair job did more than restore the wall — it netted the community an architecturally designed staircase, showy native gardens, a waterfall, less stormwater pollution of the Patapsco River and a BUBBA.

Collins: Legislators failed rape victims

It probably will shock many that uber-progressive Maryland is one of a handful of states in which rapists have parental rights over children born as a result of their crime. It probably will shock them even more to know that, for the ninth time, a bill to deny parental rights to rapists died in the legislature on its final day.

Rascovar: Larry Hogan Sr. showed courage when it counted

Congressman Larry Hogan, Sr. stood alone and defied his party, voting not once but three times to impeach Republican President Richard Nixon. It was the most principled stand taken by a Maryland politician in our lifetimes. He did what was right, not what was politically correct. Hogan died last week at 88, eclipsed in the public eye by his son and namesake, the current Maryland governor – an office the father was denied due to his impeachment stance.

Columbia at 50 Part 10: Arts at the Heart of the New Town

This is the 10th part in a series of 12 monthly essays leading up to Columbia’s 50th birthday celebration in June. The Merriweather Post Pavilion was one of the first structures built before Columbia even had its first residents. Now it is being redeveloped and is at the center of the Merriweather District that is part of Columbia’s new downtown. But Merriweather is only part of the arts scene in the planned community.