Black Baltimore has largely been left out of Maryland's marijuana industry. Here's how some are pushing to fix that. – Baltimore Sun

Medical cannabis has grown into a $600-million-a-year industry in Maryland since the first pre-rolled joint was sold legally in 2017, but Black Baltimoreans are largely left out.

Baltimore, which is 62% Black, has 10 dispensaries. Some are locally owned. Others are owned by multistate corporations. None have majority Black ownership. And only one dispensary is located in a Black neighborhood.

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Now, Maryland is poised to legalize adult-use cannabis, meaning more dispensaries, more jobs and more money.

Lawrence Brown wants to make sure that places like West Baltimore don’t get left out — again.

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Brown is an author and former Morgan State University professor who wrote a book about redlining and economic segregation called “The Black Butterfly,” a term referring to Baltimore’s largely Black east and west sides.

“This is the same kind of apartheid that has existed in so many other industries,” Brown said of the lack of dispensaries in Black neighborhoods. “And this could have been avoided with this being a new industry.”

Brown lives in West Baltimore and uses medical cannabis. Although a resident of Hampden can walk to one of two nearby dispensaries and get a balm for joint pain, he said his neighbors must drive or take the bus.

He spoke to The

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