Gov. Hogan Shakes Up State Cannabis Commission, Appoints Nine New Members

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Maryland’s newest cannabis commissioners include a pharmacist, a toxicologist, two physicians, the sheriff of Harford County and the state’s attorney for Frederick County, among others.

Gov. Larry Hogan today announced a slew of appointments for the state’s regulatory medical cannabis commission. Three of the positions were vacant: one for a scientist with experience studying cannabis, one for a licensed Maryland pharmacist and another for a member of the public who supports medical cannabis.

Those respective spots are now filled by Charles P. LoDico, a senior chemist/toxicologist for the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services, Barry G. Pope, the drug rebate manager and a clinical pharmacist for Conduent State Healthcare, and Brian P. Lopez, a partner and executive vice president for Annapolis-based developer Osprey Property Company.

Meanwhile, six of the commission’s 16 members have been replaced with new faces. Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler will step as a law enforcement representative for Cheverly Police Chief Harry “Buddy” Robshaw III. Frederick County State’s Attorney Charles Smith III will take over for Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino as a representative of prosecutors. Scott Welsh, owner of White Marsh-based nursery Maryland Flower and Foliage, is stepping in for Cristina Gouin-Paul as a Department of Agriculture-recommended horticulture expert.

Other replacement appointments include doctors Alvin Davis and Ehsan Abdeshahian, both in the role of licensed physician, and horticulturist and master gardener coordinator Rachel Rhodes as a representative of the University of Maryland Extension position.

The only reappointment was John T. Gontrum, assistant comptroller in Pete Franchot’s office for the State of Maryland. Registered nurse Jean Gilmor Marshall and patient advocate Saundra Washington will stay on as commissioners, with terms set to expire in 2019.

Gahler’s appointment is notable due to his outspoken criticisms about about medical and recreational cannabis as a so-called gateway drug in recent years.

State law requires the governor to appoint commission members to four-year terms.

Many have criticized a lack of minority representation in the burgeoning cannabis industry, with one related lawsuit playing out in court for the last year. Hogan’s office said the wave of new appointments doubles minority representation on the commission.

The announcement comes one day after the commission approved The Wellness Institute of Maryland in Frederick to be the state’s first fully licensed medical dispensary.

A spokesperson for the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission referred a request for comment to Hogan’s office.

Ethan McLeod
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