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Settlement reached in Maryland medical marijuana lawsuit

A security guard at Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Cumberland, Maryland, waits for people to arrive. Must credit: Washington Post photo by Ricky Carioti

A security guard at Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Cumberland, Maryland, waits for people to arrive. (Washington Post photo by Ricky Carioti)

An unsuccessful applicant for a medical cannabis grower’s license has reached a settlement with an association that represents a majority of the growers and processors in the state.

Jake Van Wingerden, chairman of the Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Trade Association, announced Thursday morning that the group had reached an agreement with Alternative Medicine Maryland to end that company’s lawsuit against the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission and all licensed growers.

The terms of the settlement are confidential, except that a stipulation of voluntary dismissal with prejudice was filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court a week ago.

“On behalf of the tens of thousands of patients in Maryland who have waited long enough for medical cannabis, we are pleased to announce that a settlement with AMM has been reached,” Van Wingerden said in a statement. “This development will finally allow Maryland’s medical cannabis program to move forward without the uncertainties of this litigation and costly legal proceedings, allowing licensed growers to meet the health needs of Maryland patients.”

Alternative Medicine Maryland filed suit against the state commission last year, citing failings of the commission. Specifically, it argued that the panel failed to take into account racial and ethnic diversity in awarding the 15 licenses.

Alternative Medicine Maryland is a minority-owned business. None of the 15 companies that received preliminary approval are owned by minorities.

The General Assembly is currently considering legislation meant to address the lack of minority-owned businesses licensed to grow cannabis in the state.

John Pica, an attorney representing Alternative Medicine of Maryland, called the settlement “amicable.”

“One of the main reasons we wanted to settle was so that we could focus on legislation that would create five new licenses in the state,” Pica said.

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