The Maryland Hemp Coalition, along with hemp farmers and business owners, has filed a lawsuit against state officials over a new licensing process they claim is discriminatory and monopolized. The lawsuit challenges provisions in the state’s adult-use cannabis law and details surrounding the licensing process, leading to the closure of hemp businesses.
The lawsuit targets provisions in Maryland’s adult-use cannabis law that cap THC levels in hemp-derived products sold without an adult-use cannabis license. The licensing process is also under scrutiny, raising concerns about anti-monopoly laws and Equal Protection Act violations.
Hemp businesses, previously operating lawfully, were forced to close on July 1 following the passage of the law. The stringent requirements to obtain a license are deemed nearly insurmountable, creating a challenging environment for hemp entrepreneurs.
Nevin Young, the attorney representing the hemp industry, is seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to halt the ban on hemp-derived products while the lawsuit is ongoing. The lawsuit also raises concerns about granting monopolies, favoritism, higher prices, and limited consumer choice.
As the lawsuit unfolds in court, the impact on Maryland’s cannabis industry remains uncertain.