Maryland hemp businesses launch legal action

A Maryland coalition of hemp businesses has this week filed a lawsuit against the governor and two state agencies over creating a law that they say will put them out of business and bar them from joining the state’s recreational cannabis industry.

The civil suit filed by the Maryland Hemp Coalition in Washington County Circuit Court claims certain statutes in Maryland’s 2023 cannabis reforms capped the limit on THC concentrations in hemp-derived products containing cannabidiol, or CBD. 

Governor Wes Moore, a Democrat, several members of the Maryland Cannabis Administration and the Maryland Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission are named as defendants.

The suit’s plaintiffs have CBD business interests. 

The product had been on sale unregulated for years alongside the state’s regulated medical cannabis market. But that changed on 1 July once substantive cannabis reforms went into effect, and legal sales of recreational cannabis started.

Moore administration spokesperson Carter Elliott IV said in a statement: “The governor is proud of the state’s continued commitment to create a flourishing economy, establish necessary guardrails, and to create opportunity with a focus on equity and restoration.”

Opening the market to adult use also will bolster the state’s economy “while directly benefiting those who were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs because of the commitment to equity from the Moore-Miller Administration,” Elliott added.

Maryland’s Attorney General Anthony Brown, who received the lawsuits on behalf of the governor and the agencies, was unable to comment on ongoing litigation.