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  April 23, 2017

Maryland Disproportionately Arrests Blacks for Marijuana but Rejects Diversity in Medical Licenses


The Maryland Black Caucus has called for special session to address the fact that not one predominantly owned African-American firm has received a license to grow medical marijuana in the state
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Maryland Disproportionately Arrests Blacks for Marijuana but Rejects 
Diversity in Medical LicensesTAYA GRAHAM: It's a political event that rarely happens in Maryland, a special gathering of the Legislature called after the general session to address a single issue.

In this case, it's who is granted a license to grow medical marijuana in the state. It may seem like a backroom problem, but who gets the right to grow and sell the medicinal plant in one of the country's richest states has huge implications. That's because the first round of licenses was awarded almost exclusively to majority white-owned firms.

In fact, not a single predominantly black-owned business was selected, which is why last week the Maryland Black Caucus called on Governor Larry Hogan to convene a special session to pass legislation that would have granted additional licenses to black farms.

Here to discuss how we got here and where this might be headed are three guests who have a variety of experience with the issue. Cheryl Glenn is the Head of the Maryland Black Caucus and the key legislator who has called for this special session. Caryn York has worked extensively in our state capital to advocate for socially just legislation and humane public policy for the Jobs Opportunity Task Force; and Stephen Janis is an investigative reporter for The Real News Network. Thank you all for joining us. But before we begin our discussion, we have a news package from Stephen.

MAN: Black folks are the ones that have been most devastated by the laws around marijuana. Yet, it is white folks that are going to reap the biggest financial gain as a result of it.

STEPHEN JANIS: Two years ago, when the Maryland General Assembly passed the law decriminalizing possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, this number had much to do with the law's success. 92% -- that is the share of African-Americans arrested in Baltimore for simple possession of pot; a number far disproportionate to the percentage of the population, which sits at roughly two-thirds.

It's an imbalance repeated across the state and the subject of a recent report by the ACLU, which found that between 2001 and 2010, pot arrests grew by 58% for African-Americans, while notching only a 4% increase for whites. Which is why some advocates noted with irony when it came to award lucrative licenses to sell weed legally, black businesses were excluded. In other words, arresting African-Americans for possession of weed, is a state priority; allowing black-owned businesses to share in a new and legal market for it -- not so much. The brazenness of the inequity did not surprise advocates.

CARL STOKES: Yeah, this is a continuation obviously of, you know, just rejecting African-American economic stability, or being a part of the economics of the state, or the country, frankly.

STEPHEN JANIS: Former City Councilman, Carl Stokes says it fits a pattern of black exclusion from opportunities to build wealth that has been public policy in Maryland for decades.

CARL STOKES: So, I really am bothered by it greatly, obviously. I'm even further bothered by the fact that the Democrats in terms of this state continue to reject economic inclusion for African-Americans.

STEPHEN JANIS: Dayvon Love, Director of Public Policy for the black advocacy group, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, pointed out the state was willing to address one glaring lack of diversity, not tied to race.

DAYVON LOVE: Well, race and mutual processes is kind of the wave of how racism or the method as to how racism manifests itself. So, if you think about the fact that, you know, white folks collectively have 16 times more wealth than black folks, right, this means that'll give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

STEPHEN JANIS: Which is why they both say they support efforts by State Delegate, Cheryl Glenn and the Black Caucus to call for a special session to address the issue. Even though the prospects for it and the fairness these advocates are seeking are at the moment as uncertain as ever. This is Stephen Janis reporting for The Real News Network in Baltimore.

TAYA GRAHAM: So, Delegate Glenn, what went wrong with this process?

CHERYL GLENN: Well, what went wrong was that we had a good legislative bill that was a result of a work group that was put together by Speaker Bush. President Mike Miller accepted the work group product from the House.

He had his own bill that he personally sponsored on medical marijuana, but he didn't even move his bill. He accepted the House's version; he moved it out; and he took everything that we had in the bill. The only exception was that he added and the two companies that had been bumped out of the original 15.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: And when it came back to the House, all we had to do was to concur with the Senate amendment, but it included those two companies and the Speaker was adamantly against that. And even though the Black Caucus left the floor, the House Members that we voted unanimously to accept the Senate amendments because they were not detracting from our number.

TAYA GRAHAM: Uh huh.

CHERYL GLENN: We were fighting for five new licenses for growers and five new licenses for processors.

TAYA GRAHAM: Right.

CHERYL GLENN: And so, we said, "Okay, we'll accept the Senate amendments." But the Speaker chose to, through a series of machinations at the end of ...; and it was very... And I've got to tell you, it was very disrespectful. I thought it was very disrespectful to the Black Caucus and to myself, personally to lead us to believe that it would be up to us whether, or not we would accept the Senate amendments, and then at the last minute decide that they weren't going to bring the bill up with enough time in order, to get it past.

TAYA GRAHAM: Now, weren't you literally standing on the Senate floor at the very last minutes waiting for your bill to be heard?

CHERYL GLENN: I was there at the ... I wanted them to see me. I wanted the Speaker's chief of staff to see me and recognize that I was watching and saw every move they made. Yes.

TAYA GRAHAM: Now, my next question for you would be, I feel like this is somewhat of a personal issue for you, because the Commission is named after your mother, the "Natalie LaPrade Commission" right? Could you tell me a little bit about that?

CHERYL GLENN: Yes. My mother actually, was diagnosed with kidney cancer when I first became elected to the Legislature and during her series of treatments, doctors said several times that it was a shame that they couldn't prescribe medical marijuana in the State of Maryland.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLEN: So, as I looked into this issue, I took it on as a personal endeavor because she passed at 87 years old; and it was a pretty painful thing to watch somebody that you love not have any appetite for food, for water, for anything. And the same thing had happened with my brother-in-law, John Smith, a couple of years before. And so, I began to look into the issue and learn all about medical marijuana.

TAYA GRAHAM: Uh huh.

CHERYL GLENN: Actually, the first bill had been filed maybe 30 years prior to my jumping on the bandwagon with this. And so, yes, it's personal because my mother just became the face of so many other patients, who might have been able to benefit from medical marijuana had it been available in the State of Maryland.

But for me, for the Commission to be named after my mom, and for the Commission to have just exercise such a brazen racism, and that the law that was signed in 2014, included the language that the Commission shall actively seek racial, ethnic and geographic diversity. That's the strongest language you can have.

And they just boldly and brazenly decided to ignore it. They used the excuse that a letter from the Attorney General clouded the issue for them; but the Attorney General would tell you that they made it clear to the Commission that -- if you're going to factor in race in the application process you have to do it as a result of a disparity study. And all the Commission had to do was to ask for the disparity study -- didn't have to be on medical marijuana.

It could have been on any other business; pharmaceutical business in the State of Maryland would have been a good one to look at. The black farming industry would have been something good. Anything we show you that racism is alive and well, because black people just don't have the ownership that they should have as compared to the population of the State of Maryland.

So, I am appalled at the steps that were taken on ..., despite the support for the bill; despite the fact that this was a great bill. It had in it language that would include ex-felons, you know? They would be able to participate. I know that was important to the Job Opportunities Task Force.

It also included the requirement for the disparity study, and it was awarding five new licenses for growers, and five new licenses for processors. Those are the lucrative licenses, you know.

TAYA GRAHAM: I see.

CHERYL GLENN: And they would be targeted for African-Americans and other minorities, based on the results of the disparity study.

TAYA GRAHAM: Karen, let me ask you, what's your take on what's happening with the licenses right now? Why wasn't there a single African-American-owned firm involved?

CARYN YORK: Well, the conventional answer that you'll hear is that you either, you know, did not have African-Americans who had access to the capital necessary to be able to access the industry. You would hear about a list of challenges that you would think are only specific to African-Americans in terms of trying to access this industry.

So, I mean, depending on how much time you've got, I could list a whole bunch of reasons for why it was, you know, indicated -- why African-Americans didn't have access to it. But you know, at the end of the day, Delegate Glenn had mentioned something earlier about whatever industry that you're looking at, you find that African-Americans, black men and women, tend to be shut out of the market; shut out of the industry.

And so, you know, as crass as it sounds, I think the bottom line is that, you know, for these individuals that have been devastated by, you know, laws that were kind of targeted towards them, for accessing this drug and now that it's turned into a lucrative industry, and that same reason is being used to push them out; I mean, the only thing that you can think of is race.

TAYA GRAHAM: Right. Right. Well, Stephen in your news package you basically pointed out for lack of a better word, the irony that the state has made it a priority to arrest African-Americans for marijuana use, but, yet at the same time can't award a license for someone to sell marijuana legally.

STEPHEN JANIS: Well, this came up when the decriminalization efforts hit the Assembly a couple of years ago and you know there was some pushback from the Democratic leadership. They didn't want to pass the decriminalization and we did some research and found out that in Baltimore City, for example in 2013, 92% of all small marijuana possession arrests were African-American.

TAYA GRAHAM: Right.

STEPHEN JANIS: Which is disproportionate to the population and the ACLU released a study where the arrest for African Americans when up like 56% for pot, while it only rose 4% over the past decade--

TAYA GRAHAM: ...for white counterparts.

STEPHEN JANIS: And in 2010, yeah, the State spent over $100 million; so everywhere you looked the African-American population in the city or the county were suffering tremendously from this policy of arrests and policy of incarceration, which really stands as stark contrast to what I think will be the tremendous benefit of this program, whoever gets the license.

So, it's really kind of difficult, I think, for anyone in a public policy position to reconcile why you spend so much money arresting people that you then absolutely excluded from the process of benefitting from this new what will be a huge industry in Maryland.

TAYA GRAHAM: Now, Karen you fought successfully to prevent the Legislature from rolling back cash bail reform and cash bail takes millions out of the African-American community. Now, we have the opportunity with these licenses to bring millions to the African-American community. Don't you think that makes it a social justice issue?

CARYN YORK: I would say it's totally a social justice issue. It's a social justice issue; it's an economic justice issue; it's a racial justice issue. I mean, it's just another example of kind of denying opportunity and access to individuals who have historically been denied access and opportunity to a host of things.

You know, even if you set aside medical marijuana, right, and you look at any industry, right, and let's just stick with jobs for example.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CARYN YORK: You talk about how can we ensure that people of color have access to good paying jobs in the community? And one of the things that's well known and well established is if you support small black-owned businesses, they're going to what? Hire in their communities. They're going to go towards those that they know; those that, you know, that look like them; that they have a connection to -- and that's going to be your key to opportunity.

So, going back to your initial question of why... what are some of the reasons why African-Americans didn't have an opportunity at this industry? You know when you think about the individuals that have been devastated by the marijuana laws, and yes, while, you know, little Ray-Ray on the corner, who has a, number of marijuana convictions might not be able to access a grower's or dispensary license, you might have an African-American collaborative effort that was able to access a license.

And now that entity is going to make sure that it's their social responsibility to seek out those individuals that have been devastated by these past laws, and figure out how they can access the industry in a way that maybe they can in turn matriculate up into, you know, the possibility of being a grower.

TAYA GRAHAM: Right.

CARYN YORK: You know, or a dispensary owner and so, you know, just taking it back to -- you hate to just kind of trivialize it to just it being about race. But like Stephen was saying, there's no other way to really reconcile it because, you know, when you look at other issues that you're trying to advance, whether it be at City Hall or in Annapolis -- when we want to use race, we use race.

TAYA GRAHAM: Yes.

CARYN YORK: We use it and we're very clear, and we're very deliberate about it. And so, it should not be any shock that, you know, now all of a sudden whether it's personal for Delegate Glenn, or you know, whether it's a priority of the Legislative Black Caucus, who for years have been very clear about wanting to address the inequities in our criminal justice system, are now trying to figure out a way to find a solution to that, so.

TAYA GRAHAM: You know, I have to follow up with a... Just from watching your work, it seems like one of the big obstacles, whether it's police reform, or cash-bail, has actually been the Democratic Party, has actually been Democrats getting in the way. Could you talk to me a little bit about that? Because it seems to me that the Democratic Party is failing us. What would you say to that?

CARYN YORK: Short answer -- yes.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CARYN YORK: A longer, more elaborate answer is, you know, something that I think we have heard on the national scene a lot -- this idea that, you know, our State Democratic Parties are more focused on pleasing and appeasing our moderates.

And so, in Annapolis there are a couple names that you would constantly hear. And while these are great people and I respect them, you know, as legislators and colleagues and all that, there are certain names that you will constantly hear as obstacles to, you know, success and change and reform. And to be clear, these are not, you know, white Republicans from rural parts of Maryland.

TAYA GRAHAM: Exactly.

CARYN YORK: Right? A lot of times, most times, these were white Baltimore County Democrats.

TAYA GRAHAM: Yes.

CARYN YORK: I mean that's what it boils down to. Our prosecutors, the ones that are right there, you know, pushing back against whether it's bail reform, or expungement expansion, or whatever -- Baltimore County prosecutor, right; you have prosecutors from different parts of the State that are like, "No, we need to start thinking about things differently because we're locking up the wrong people."

TAYA GRAHAM: Right.

CARYN YORK: And we're, you know, pushing people away from opportunities that they should have access to. But it's actually our moderate... it's unfortunately our white moderate Democrats that we spend the most time trying to convince and appease and you know, convince and I mean, I don't... That's who our focus tends to be on.

STEPHEN JANIS: As a reporter, I can say since we've covered these issues very bluntly, that you know, from my perspective as a reporter covering social justice reform, it's been Joe Vallario from the Democrat in the Judiciary Committee, and Bobby Zirkin, the Senate Democrat Judiciary Committee, who have blocked a lot of stuff.

I won't go too much into it, but you know, I can just say... I can literally say those two Democrats have been a huge roadblock to criminal justice reform, especially police reform, and bail reform.

TAYA GRAHAM: But actually, how many... you covered one of the worst travesties of the violation of civil liberties, which was zero tolerance--

STEPHEN JANIS: --Yeah.

TAYA GRAHAM: Which took place here in Baltimore City; didn't that happen under a Democrat?

STEPHEN JANIS: Martin O'Malley, Democrat.

TAYA GRAHAM: Yeah, right.

STEPHEN JANIS: You know, he... that entire what I think is one of the worst travesties ever to occur in the modern era of American politics and civil rights violations; of mass, civil rights violations--

TAYA GRAHAM: Yes.

STEPHEN JANIS: ...on a mass scale, occurred under the leadership of someone who, the Democratic Party vaulted up to Governor.

TAYA GRAHAM: Considered an aggressive Democrat even.

STEPHEN JANIS: And said, well, he could be President.

TAYA GRAHAM: Uh huh.

STEPHEN JANIS: But what he did to the people of this city is immeasurable. I mean, the harm and the pain that I covered.

TAYA GRAHAM: Yes.

STEPHEN JANIS: You know, and that was 700,000 people being arrested almost every one of them African-American.

TAYA GRAHAM: Right.

STEPHEN JANIS: So, and that was the Democratic Party and they mostly looked the other way. So, yeah.

TAYA GRAHAM: Delegate Glenn, I wanted to ask you -- what would the special session actually look like? What's the process? What happens next?

CHERYL GLENN: A special session has, to be called for a very narrow focus; a very narrow issue.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: So, we're looking for the special session to be called to rectify what went wrong at the last minute.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: So, this would be focused just on House Bill 1443.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: Of course, it would have another number because it has, to be refiled. But our Constitution of the State of Maryland says that a petition containing a majority of signatures from the House Members and a majority of the Senate Members, once that is provided to the leadership, they must -- must call a special session.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: So, we are in that process right now, as we speak -- a petition drive; and we will be asking for a meeting with the Speaker. And it will be very interesting because we would like for the Speaker to give us an answer as to why he chose to do what he did on Sine Die.

TAYA GRAHAM: So, you haven't had a chance to approach him yet about this? You haven't had a chance to hear his response?

CHERYL GLENN: We don't want to do that until we have our completed petitions in place.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay. So, Karen what do you think are the odds of this special session happening? I know they have happened on occasion, because of the budget. Do you think there's a good chance?

CARYN YORK: I think there is a good chance for a number of reasons. But I'm only going to mention a couple. So, the first reason is you have the Black Caucus that's requesting this special session; and we have a Black Caucus that many of the states haven't ...we haven't really seen before in terms of its energy and its passion.

TAYA GRAHAM: Yes.

CARYN YORK: And so, you know, the Black Caucus -- they're very serious; they're very deliberate about what they want; and they go about accomplishing it. And I think that, you know, our presiding officers have acknowledged that you can't get anything done without the votes of the Black Caucus.

And I think Maryland, I think we might be the second state in the nation that has like the largest Black Caucus. I think other states only have like, I don't know, like seven or eight, if that, caucus members. So, you have a powerful caucus.

Two, I think that the presiding officers hopefully they would understand how foolish they would look if they would not allow this one-day special session--

TAYA GRAHAM: Right.

CARYN YORK: ...for something as important as, you know, what Delegate Glenn has indicated, especially after, what was it, like two years ago and we had a special session for like...

CHERYL GLENN: Gaming.

CARYN YORK: Gaming.

STEPHEN JANIS: Okay, well we were awarded a casino license. Yeah.

CARYN YORK: Right, when you know, Senate President Mike Miller was so upset--

STEPHEN JANIS: Yeah, that's a good point.

CARYN YORK: ...we were not able to, you know figure out the whole MGM National Harbor. And they had to come back. And so, there are just a host of examples where, if they want it, they get it. So, how can you not give it to the Black Caucus?

STEPHEN JANIS: That's a very good point.

CARYN YORK: I mean it makes no sense; I mean I can go on and on but if you want to list of reasons.

CHERYL GLENN: Two things. Can I interject something?

STEPHEN JANIS: Yeah, sure.

TAYA GRAHAM: Oh please.

CHERYL GLENN: There are two other issues I want to point out. We will be back in session in January. We will be -- that's no if, ands or buts. Can you imagine how the African-American numbers of the Legislature will feel if we had to come back next session without this issue being resolved? And to add to it, next year is an election year.

I mean the Democrats are basically handing Larry Hogan, our Governor re-election because the African-American population is the most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party.

TAYA GRAHAM: That's so true.

CHERYL GLENN: There's already feelings of being taken for granted and you know, a lot that you said earlier. But with this issue, if this is not resolved, then this is brazen institutional racism.

TAYA GRAHAM: And disrespect.

CHERYL GLENN: Yes.

TAYA GRAHAM: For the Black Caucus.

CHERYL GLENN: And it's not going to be tolerated.

STEPHEN JANIS: Do you think it will be the same scenario as happened in 2014 with Governor ... when Lt. Governor ran and sort of African-American voters stayed home, basically? Could be...

CHERYL GLENN: Oh, absolutely, absolutely, because you know, how could the Democratic Party feel confident that we would be actively engaged in supporting the Democratic candidate? I can tell you Cheryl Glenn, if this issue is not resolved, Cheryl Glenn will not be. And as a matter of fact, I might even change my Party affiliation.

STEPHEN JANIS: Woah.

TAYA GRAHAM: Wow.

CARYN YORK: And if I can just add something to Delegate Glenn's point. You know, how dare the Party to even expect Black Democrats to allow this to happen when those numbers that you just mentioned. I mean we just got done with justice reinvestment.

CHERYL GLENN: Right.

CARYN YORK: Right? Where we found that the number one offence that Marylanders are arrested for is a non-violent drug offense, right? So, I mean there's no way that you can expect, you know, all of a sudden the Black Democrats to get behind whatever major Party platforms you guys have going on in 2018, you know, and I'm pretty sure they're going to find some criminal justice platform. This happens every four years.

They'll find some criminal justice platform that they're going to come to the Caucus; they're going to come to the advocates and they're going to say, "This is how we address the disparities in the criminal justice system." And they're going to expect us to be there and stand there and not have... And it's just...

STEPHEN JANIS: But it'll be superficial, is what you're saying, yeah.

CHERYL GLENN: It's not going to work.

CARYN YORK: Well, there's that.

STEPHEN JAHIS: I mean, but the reason--

CHERYL GLENN: It's not going to work. Our eyes are open.

STEPHEN JANIS: But like, it seems like Bobby Zirkin is running from the O'Malley playbook. Like, I'm going to beat back everything... You know, Taya and I were watching as the FOP was basically giving him hand signals--

TAYA GRAHAM: Yes!

STEPHEN JANIS: ...you know, on what to say.

TAYA GRAHAM: There were actually members of the FOP sitting together pointing at a piece of paper and giving a thumbs-up.

STEPHEN JANIS: ...(overlaps)Doing a semi-four, right, like with flags. This is what you say.

TAYA GRAHAM: Thumbs-up, to Zirkin.

STEPHEN JANIS: If he's doing that, he obviously believes that he's going to get the African-American vote when he runs because it seems to me he's ambitious, but why haven't they learned their lesson?

CHERYL GLENN: Well, the plight of Martin O'Malley should be instructive for Bobby Zirkin.

GROUP: (laughter)

STEPHEN JANIS: Well put.

CHERYL GLENN: Martin O'Malley really wanted to be President.

STEPHEN JANIS: Uh huh.

CHERYL GLENN: And Martin O'Malley saw that he didn't have a chance because he didn't have the support, and particularly, in Baltimore City, you know.

CARYN YORK: Of black people.

CHERYL GLENN: Yeah. You don't want the Al Gore syndrome again. You've got to bring your home base, in order, for there to be...

TAYA GRAHAM: That's right.

CHERYL GLENN: You know, competitive, and I don't know Senator Zirkin, I don't know what he's thinking. But I can tell you next year it will not be business as usual. When we had, a press conference the other day, and one of the reporters said, "Well, are you threatening?" I said, "No, it's not a threat. It's a promise."

CARYN YORK: It's a promise.

STEPHEN JANIS: Hmm. So, if they don't call the special session and fix this, you're going to become a Republican?

CHERYL GLENN: I don't know whether I will become a Republican, that's not the only option, right?

STEPHEN JANIS: Right. That's true.

CARYN YORK: Sanderson!

STEPHEN JANIS: You can be a Green Party, Independent.

CHERYL GLENN: I don't know but I will be so disappointed with the Democratic establishment, our leadership, the Party, and I will be one of those people, I'll find saying, that the Democratic Party has failed us.

TAYA GRAHAM: I'll be disappointed too if they force you to leave. That would be a real loss.

STEPHEN JANIS: Well, she's not leaving; she's just saying she's going to go to a different party.

CARYN YORK: Can I also remind us of something else that I just remembered? Senator Zirkin, if you all remember, in 2013, 2014 and many of his colleagues who are opposed to Delegate Glenn's effort, actually led the effort to decriminalize marijuana.

CHERYL GLENN: Yes.

CARYN YORK: So, I mean these are kind of like the things that boggle my mind. Like, they don't make any sense.

TAYA GRAHAM: No, it really doesn't make sense logically.

CARYN YORK: I mean he--

STEPHEN JANIS: Well, it makes sense if you think about it.

CARYN YORK: ...was the lead advocate for it; for decriminalization.

CHERYL GLENN: ... and like you said earlier, the Democrats use race when it's politically expedient.

TAYA GRAHAM: Well, let me just ask because I do need to wrap up. I want to know where we are with the legalization of recreational marijuana because I know Delegate Curt Anderson has been working towards it. And then we still have some problems like for example; if someone has paraphernalia they can still be arrested for it. So, where are we with recreational marijuana?

CHERYL GLENN: Well, I could tell you as the Chair of the Black Caucus, we didn't take a position on that this year when it was introduced.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: The thinking is that we have got to have our medical cannabis program up and running--

TAYA GRAHAM: Sure.

CHERYL GLENN: ...to kind of give you some good guidance for when we ultimately think about legalizing marijuana. It took us 40 years to get medical marijuana in the State of Maryland.

TAYA GRAHAM: That's true.

CHERYL GLENN: We are a very conservative state. However, there's thought behind putting it on the ballot. So, that's an angle that might be attempted next session.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: But I mean I know there was a bill in this session for it. So, I just don't think we're there yet.

TAYA GRAHAM: Okay.

CHERYL GLENN: Because we don't have our medical marijuana program up and running. But I can tell you, when you look at other states, you look at Denver, and you see the economic opportunities.

TAYA GRAHAM: Yeah, that bounty of money that they're pouring into the school system.

CARYN YORK: Which leads me to my point because if we can't... if we're sitting here arguing over giving licenses to African-American applicants, and then we legalize and then tax it and regulate it.

How are we going to make sure, or how can you convince me and others that monies from, you know, this now lucrative legal industry is going to be funneled to, you know, the underserved?

TAYA GRAHAM: That's an excellent question because as we've seen with our casino it's not exactly pouring into the Baltimore City School System.

CARYN YORK: Delegate Glenn is right, like, we... until they can prove that, you know, we can erect and maintain a medical marijuana state model, that's fair and transparent and equitable, and whatever other adjective you want to use -- I can't imagine how we can ever expect to legalize marijuana and then just, you know, and think that--

TAYA GRAHAM: It's really going to benefit the community.

CARYN YORK: Yeah.

CHERYL GLENN: But as a delegate, I wouldn't support it. I would oppose it, until we get our fair share. Because why expand a huge billion-dollar economy that we don't have a role in?

TAYA GRAHAM: That's an excellent point.

CHERYL GLENN: We're not going to do that. One third of the State of Maryland is African-American.

TAYA GRAHAM: Yes.

CHERYL GLENN: One-third; 50 Members of the Legislature -- 50 are African American. This is not going to be accepted. I can tell you, by one way, or another this will change and it's going to change soon.

One person can't take a position of supporting the horrible practice of the institution of racism. I don't care if you're the President of the country, you know? As long as, we have the authority to have our votes held on issues, you can't even pass the State budget without us.

TAYA GRAHAM: Excellent. That's going to have to be the last story, that's wonderful. Thank you so much. I want to thank my guests, Delegate Cheryl Glenn, Investigative Reporter, Stephen Janis, and Caryn York for joining me. I'm your host, Taya Graham. Thank you so much for joining The Real Baltimore.

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