Hope Wiseman, a 25-year-old Spelman graduate, plans to open a dispensary called Mary and Main’s in Capital Heights this winter. As a co-founder of Compassionate Herbal Alternative, she’s the youngest Black woman in the nation to own a dispensary.

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A 90-day Maryland General Assembly comes to a close at midnight Monday, and though the top objective was achieved when a $44.5 billion budget was approved last month, lawmakers still have dozens of bills they plan to review on the final day, including compromises on medical marijuana.

According to the legislation, Senate and House lawmakers reached a deal Saturday to limit the number of processors to 28. In addition, the bill would add 20 new licenses to grow and process marijuana to ensure racial diversity, as well as allow a former member of the General Assembly who leaves after one year in office to become an owner or have an official relationship with a medical marijuana business. The previous language set the mark for a person to wait two years.

The legislation would force the state’s medical cannabis commission, named after the mother of Baltimore City Delegate Cheryl Glenn, “to the extent permitted by federal and state law, actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity when licensing medical cannabis growers” and “encourage applicants who qualify as a minority business enterprise.” read more