Council member Jolene Ivey (center in blue shirt) and her staff at the Back to School Fest. (Courtesy of Ivey)
Council member Jolene Ivey (center in blue shirt) and her staff at the Back to School Fest. (Courtesy of Ivey)

Office of Social Equity Website Officially Launches

Maryland’s Office of Social Equity (OSE) has officially launched its website portal for those interested in entering the cannabis business who meet the necessary requirements. 

The mission of OSE is to provide resources and support for historically disadvantaged individuals and businesses seeking to enter the Maryland adult-use cannabis industry. 

The law defines an eligible social equity applicant as having at least 65% ownership and control held by one or more individuals who:

  1. Has lived in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five of the last 10 years immediately preceding the submission of the application; or
  2. Attended a public school in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five years; or
  3. For at least two years, attended a four-year institution of higher education in Maryland where at least 40% of the individuals who attended the institution of higher education received a Pell Grant.

In mid-July, Gov. Wes Moore (D) announced the appointment of Audrey L. Johnson as acting executive director of the Office of Social Equity and Courtney Davis as Deputy Director of the OSE. ​

We have previously written about Maryland’s cannabis legalization. Read more here and here.

Visit the Maryland Office of Social Equity website here

Council Member Ivey Hosts Back to School Fest

County Council member Jolene Ivey (D-District 5) hosted a Back-to-School event complete with food trucks to begin the new school year on Aug. 31. 

Carletta Lundy, a former Bladensburg Council member who now serves on the Prince George’s County Board of Elections, had a table to distribute voter registration alongside her husband and a cycling group recruited for future rides. Soultarian Cafe, I Got The Scoop and It’s in Tha Bag were the present food trucks, and a law change led by Ivey should usher in significantly more food truck access to County residents.

Ivey was the main sponsor of CB-53 in 2022, which eliminated food truck hubs and allowed for food trucks in different locations around the County. 

“Before the county legislation, food trucks could not operate, and it has been so great for the community to have food trucks available at community events but also to help small businesses jump-start here in the County,” said Cheverly Council member and Ivey’s Chief of Staff Amy Jean Chung Fry in an email.

Food trucks are now allowed in office and business parks, industrial and employment parks, commercial areas and retail shopping centers, properties owned or operated by faith-based organizations, membership pools, and nonprofit organizations, agricultural facilities such as wineries, farms, and orchards, food halls, farmers markets and other temporary food-associated venues, active construction sites, publicly available government-owned facilities, golf courses and dog parks.

“The passage of this historic legislation is a great step in supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of our food truck community by expanding the vending opportunities in the County,” said Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation CEO and President David Iannucci in 2022. “Our vendors seek to live, work and play yin the county they love, and this legislation provides the pathway to success for our local business. A healthy, thriving food truck community is an integral part of a solid pipeline of commercial development with our food service providers and creates an amenity destination for our county residents.”

State Officials Approve Vehicle Emissions Changes 

The Board of Public Works, currently composed of Governor Wes Moore (D), Comptroller Brooke Lierman (D) and Treasurer Dereck Davis (D), unanimously voted to approve a change to require new vehicles get inspections after six years, rather than after three years. 

Vehicles older than six years will still require an inspection every other year. The estimated lost revenue to the transportation fund is between $3,000,000 (the Motor Vehicle Administration’s estimate) and $6,100,000 (the Department of Legislative Services estimate). However, the Transportation Trust Fund is expecting a four billion dollar shortfall and state leaders recently convened a work group to find new revenue sources.

During the discussion regarding the proposed change, Lierman acknowledged the predicted loss of revenue to the state’s Transportation fund and that this change will leave an undue burden on low-income Marylanders who are more likely to have a car that is six years old or older. 

Davis said he was OK with the change, as over 99% of vehicles pass their inspections after six years.

The Maryland Department of the Environment is holding a virtual public hearing on Sept. 18 on how it will implement the new rule, which will then be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

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