Pro-pot Md. Politician Tied to Group Seeking Medical Pot License - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Pro-pot Md. Politician Tied to Group Seeking Medical Pot License

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Del. Dan K. Morhaim (Photo: Maryland State Archives) Del. Dan K. Morhaim (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- A state lawmaker who pushed to legalize medical marijuana in Maryland is working with a company trying to obtain a license to sell the drug.
    
Del. Dan K. Morhaim, who sponsored and helped push a 2014 law legalizing the medical-marijuana business in Maryland and has been active in the field since, has long declined to answer questions about possible connections to pot-related companies.
    
The Washington Post reports Morhaim is the clinical director of Doctor's Orders, according the company's dispensary licensing application that was obtained by the newspaper through a public records request.
    
Doctor's Orders is one of hundreds of companies vying to win one of a limited number of state licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana.
    
Morhaim, a Democratic lawmaker from Baltimore County who is also an emergency room doctor, said he has no ownership stake in the company and cleared his involvement with General Assembly's ethics advisor.
    
"When you are a citizen legislature, people do have jobs, and I'm entitled to work as a physician," Morhaim told the paper.  "I don't see any conflicts of interest, and anyone can review the legislation I've done, and everyone can see it's all aboveboard."
    
This year, Morhaim sponsored legislation that could help increase the number of patients buying medical marijuana and has regularly given advice to members of a state commission that regulates medical marijuana.
    
A good government advocate said it was "very troubling" that Morhaim had leveraged his position as a delegate to influence medical-marijuana policy without disclosing publicly that he works for Doctor's Orders.
    
"It comes down to public trust: Disclosure is the public's ability to know all of the potential influencers that can be shaping an elected official's decisions," said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of the watchdog group Common Cause Maryland. "When you don't have disclosure, you don't have trust."
    
Morhaim said Doctor's Orders had never asked him to try and influence legislation or state policy and noted that he's been active in promoting medical marijuana since 2003.
    
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission received more than 800 applications may grant a total of 94 dispensary licenses. The state is set to start awarding licenses next month.
    

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