POT PANEL TO HIRE DIVERSITY EXPERT: The Maryland Cannabis Commission announced Monday it will hire a consultant to review what steps — if any — it could take to improve diversity in the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry. The consultant will determine if it is feasible to conduct a study of whether minorities have been unfairly excluded from the industry, among other tasks, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.
- The commission announced the plans at a meeting where it also awarded 102 preliminary licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries across the state and near marijuana growing sites. The identities of those companies will not be revealed until Dec. 9, pending initial vetting, Fenit Nirappil reports for the Post.
- Patrick Jameson said key factors are still evolving and changing by the day as the industry gets established, but the commission highly encourages applicants for these licenses to “engage and recruit minority owners, investors and employees where practical.” Brian Witte of the AP reports the story.
- The recommendations — which included two dispensaries for all but two senatorial districts — were made by the dispensary evaluation subcommittee. The committee also pre-approved 10 dispensary licenses for some of the growers and processors who were approved for those licenses earlier this year, Morgan Eichensehr reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.
SCHOOL BUS SEAT BELTS: The Tennessee school bus that crashed a week ago killing six children has rekindled questions whether school buses should come equipped with seat belts. Maryland Sen. Jim Brochin, D-Baltimore, whose school bus seat belt bill stalled last legislative session, hopes to reintroduce the measure at the start of the new General Assembly session in January, Dick Uliano of WTOP-AM reports.
WISCONSIN RULING & MARYLAND DISTRICTS: A federal court’s striking down of Wisconsin’s legislative redistricting as unconstitutionally Republican-centric has invigorated a pending GOP challenge to a Maryland congressional district as unconstitutionally favorable to Democrats, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.
KAMENETZ TO SHIELD IMMIGRANTS: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, weighing in on a divisive political battle that has erupted since Donald Trump was elected president, added his name Monday to the growing list of Democrats vowing to shield immigrants from deportation, John Fritze of the Sun reports. Kamenetz, who is considering a bid for governor in 2018, said he supports efforts by universities to create “sanctuary campuses,” and said he had directed county police to avoid taking part “in any effort” to identify the immigration status of students.
- Kamenetz, in a letter to college and university leaders and presidents and members of the state’s congressional and U.S. Senate delegation, also called on Gov. Larry Hogan to make a similar commitment, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. The letter follows the election of Republican President-elect Donald Trump, who during the campaign made pledges to deport millions of immigrants he said were living in the country illegally
BAG IT FOR CHRISTMAS: Showing their support for shopping locally at a Main Street store in Ellicott City Monday night were, from left: Robin Kittleman, County Executive Allan Kittleman, unidentified man, Anne Maher, wife of Peter Franchot, Comptroller Franchot, Yumi Hogan and Gov. Larry Hogan. From Kittleman’s Facebook page.
GIVING TUESDAY: Giving Tuesday was a smart idea, but now it’s gotten to be overkill. Everybody has their hands out. Having our happy hour on Giving Tuesday was simply a happy accident of when the governor was available to guest bartend. But even if you can’t attend tonight’s event at Harry Browne’s (tickets and sponsorships are still on sale), you can still make a tax-deductible contribution to support independent coverage of state government and politics. Thanks for putting up with all these solicitations.
MO CO DEVELOPERS AIDED TERM LIMITS: Montgomery County real estate developers and builders put some late financial muscle behind the successful term limits ballot initiative, according to a post-election filing with the state, Bill Turque reports for the Post. The real estate sector kicked in about $21,000 of the $25,000 in contributions collected in late October and early November by Voters for Montgomery County Term Limits.
- Doug Tallman of Bethesda Beat reports that one of the arguments espoused by proponents of term limits for some Montgomery County politicians was that restricting the number of terms for some elected offices would help drive development interests out of county government. Developers might have seen things differently.
GOP SUIT THREATENED: As Frederick County’s Republican Central Committee amended its bylaws on Monday, one member and her attorney said she will sue if the committee tries to oust her. Jeremy Bauer-Wolf of the Frederick News Post writes that the threat of a possible lawsuit from JoeyLynn Hough comes after the central committee on Monday amended its bylaws regarding its code of conduct, censures and removal of its members.
VAN HOLLEN CALLS FOR PEACE AT PIPELINE: Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen on Monday called on the Army Corps of Engineers to “deescalate” the standoff over a pipeline in North Dakota that has been the subject of months of demonstrations and reverse its decision to evict protesters, John Fritze of the Sun writes. Opponents of the pipeline are concerned about the potential effects on drinking water on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and farther downstream on the Missouri River, as well as destruction of cultural artifacts, including burial sites.
FORMER DEL. McCLELLAN DIES: Western Maryland has lost a former state delegate who played a large role in the city of Frederick’s downtown revival after a devastating flood in 1976, the Daily Record is reporting. James R. McClellan said Monday that his 90-year-old father James “Doc” McClellan died Saturday at a Frederick-area retirement community. He says the cause of death was old age.
- Allen Etzler of the Frederick News Post reports that McClellan was elected to the city’s Board of Aldermen in 1973, the same time that Ron Young, now a state senator, was elected mayor of Frederick. The two served together for four years before McClellan was elected as a state delegate. He served 16 years in that capacity.
- Jacques Kelly writes the obit in the Sun.