On May 11, 2023, Tea Pad was back in Maryland's state capitol Annapolis with the Dyra Wolf band and hosted Delegate C.T. Wilson. The room was packed!
“The goal in Maryland wasn’t to get our Marylanders high,” Delegate C.T. Wilson, a Democrat who chairs the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee. “It was to take cannabis out of the criminal stream of commerce, protect young Black men from being arrested and dying and, additionally, give back to the communities that were most disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.”
Delegate Wilson wrote the bill Cannabis Reform which became law in May and stands up Maryland’s cannabis adult-use industry. Thecannabis adult-use market goes live on July 1, 2023.
While speaking at Tea Pad, Chair Wilson shared that he personally did not vote for adult-use legalization but fully understands the critical need to prioritize opportunities for social equity applicants with a sound economic policy to combat the illicit cannabis market as well as address the criminalization of cannabis. He answered questions about the different types of licenses and the 9% tax rate on adult-use cannabis. As he answered several questions (there was a line!) from Tea Pad attendees, he repeatedly shared that this law is just the beginning. There are regulations to be established.
In 2010, Chair Wilson was elected to represent the 28th District in the House of Delegates at the Maryland General Assembly. During his first term, which officially began in 2011, he served on the Environmental Matters Committee and as a member of the Black, Democratic, and Veterans Caucuses. Delegate Wilson has brought forth and supported numerous pieces of legislation that have now become Maryland law.
On February 9th at the Light House Bistro in Annapolis, we were joined by our featured guest, human and civil rights advocate Chairwoman Jheanelle K. Wilkins. Chairwoman Wilkins shared goals for the 2023 Maryland General Assembly and for the Maryland cannabis industry.
Along with prioritizing opportunities for Maryland individuals and communities most harmed by the War on Drugs in the new adult-use industry, Chairwoman Wilkns said establishing a criminal justice policy that prevents police officers from stopping drivers and searching vehicles just because they smell cannabis are priority for the 2023 Session.
Chairwoman Wilkins' legislative achievements include legislation related to addressing maternal health disparities, justice transformation and curbing racial profiling, and advancing educational equity. She is the first Black woman to represent Maryland's District 20 (Montgomery County) in the Maryland House of Delegates. Today, she leads The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Inc. (LBCM). LBCM is an organization of 60 members who dedicate themselves to the mission of ensuring that Black people in the great state of Maryland are equally protected and benefited by the promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as afforded by the United States Constitution. LBCM is the largest Black Caucus in the U.S.
LCBM has been instrumental in the advocacy and passage of legislation that has benefited Blacks, and all Marylanders, since the 1970s. The Black legislators and community leaders, who serve as members and partners of the LBCM have stood steadfast and united in articulating public policy positions that promote Black progress in Maryland.
Tahir Johnson was our featured guest at Tea Pad in Baltimore. Tahir is the Director of Social Equity and Inclusion at Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), advancing MPP's mission of achieving social justice for those impacted by cannabis prohibition. He's also a recent successful applicant for a New Jersey adult use cannabis dispensary license. Tahir inspired attendees with his personal journey from grassroots social justice advocate to leading an impactful organization for social equity and success as a cannabis industry entrepreneur.
After two years without an in-person Tea Pad and with such a timely focus on cannabis adult use legalization in Maryland, the energy in the room at Bus Boys and Poets was palpable. Senator Brian Feldman shared the key points of his legalization bill. Following, was a lively and provocative Q & A session with questions on how to protect Maryland's medical cannabis program and how minority led new cannabis companies can compete with existing license holders.
Tea Pad launched its first event on May 9, 2020, in Baltimore, Maryland. We went on to host in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey with cannabis industry innovators, policy influencers, and minority licensed cannabis business cannabis industry entrepreneurs.