Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson talks about the state’s upcoming legislative session during an interview on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023 in Annapolis, Md. The Maryland General Assembly’s annual 90-day session begins on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

When the Maryland General Assembly convenes Wednesday, Democratic leaders plan to protect abortion rights and set up the state’s new recreational marijuana industry.

State Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones described those and other priorities on WYPR’s Midday Tuesday.

After voters legalized recreational marijuana use in November, lawmakers have to create the infrastructure for the new industry.

Ferguson divided the task into three key parts.

First, the legislature needs to create a regulatory framework, including creating licenses for businesses that want to participate in the marketplace, in time for the market to launch July 1.

Delaying the launch of the new legal market increases the risks that the illegal market continues to thrive, Ferguson said.

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.