State Roundup, October 25, 2017

FENTANYL DEATHS SPIKE UP: Maryland saw a sharp spike in fentanyl-related deaths in the first half of this year, with fatalities from heroin and prescription opioids appearing to level off after years of steady increases, Mary Hui reports for the Post. The state’s Department of Health reported Tuesday that fentanyl-related deaths leapt to 799 between January and June of this year, compared to 469 such deaths over the same period in 2016.

MORE RX POT LICENSES AWARDED: Two companies under investigation by state cannabis regulators have been issued licenses after those reviews were dropped, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved growing and processing licenses for Doctor’s Orders Maryland of Dorchester County and a processor license for Temescal Wellness of Baltimore Monday after announcing it was ending separate investigations into potential conflicts.

  • When medical marijuana becomes available in Maryland in the coming weeks, patients may only find one place ready to dispense the drug on the Eastern Shore. Peninsula Alternative Health won approval Monday from the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission to make marijuana available to patients. The Salisbury business is the first dispensary to receive a license in the nine-county region, Jeremy Cox of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

RX POT PROTEST: Pikesville residents gathered Tuesday in a Towson hearing room, waiting patiently on benches to voice their fears about and opposition to a proposed medical cannabis dispensary run by Temescal Wellness in their community, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun. The dispensary might be a magnet for crime, they told a zoning appeals board Tuesday. There could be unsavory people loitering around the business. Traffic could get worse. It could be converted to selling recreational marijuana, if that’s ever legalized, they said.

HOGAN DIRECTS FROSH ON CROSS RULING: Gov. Larry Hogan directed Maryland’s attorney general Tuesday to weigh into a federal court case questioning whether a cross-shaped war memorial in Prince George’s County is an unconstitutionalendorsement of Christianity, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

CHARLES CO. BIDS FOR AMAZON HQ2: Charles County threw its hat into the ring last week to become the site of Amazon’s new corporate headquarters, Paul Lagasse writes for the Charles County Independent. Most of the details of the county’s bid are under wraps, but one thing that is known is that the proposed location for the online retail giant’s second headquarters, dubbed “Amazon HQ2,” is a 435-acre parcel located east of U.S. 301 in White Plains.

FROSH PUSHES BACK ON CLINTON EMAIL PROBE: Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital writes that Maryland Attorney General’s Office lawyers filed a petition Monday asking the Court of Appeals to stay and review a Circuit Court judge’s order to investigate lawyers accused of deleting large batches of Hillary Clinton’s emails. The petition asks the a court to review the case because of new rule changes to the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission’s authority to decline attorney complaints for new reasons.

MARYLAND AT CENTER OF TRANSGENDER ISSUE: As legislative and court battles rage over the question of whether transgender people are fit to serve in the military, two service members with ties to Maryland are at the heart of the fight, Helen Marshall of Capital News Service reports. Regan Kibby, a student at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Brock Stone, stationed at the U.S. Army’s Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, are plaintiffs in two of the cases working their way through federal court.

HOGAN TOUTS RECORD: Gov. Larry Hogan detailed his economic and transportation record to a roomful of Montgomery County government officials and business people Tuesday, saying that during his time as governor, the General Assembly has not created any new taxes. He said he cut roadway tolls for the first time in 50 years and more than 100,000 jobs were created during his first term, reports Andrew Metcalf in Bethesda Beat.

HOGAN EFFECT BEATS TRUMP EFFECT? Throughout the country next year, Democrats running for Congress will try to tie every Republican they can find to President Trump. But Republicans in Maryland’s 6th District believe they have a not-so-secret coat of armor to protect them from those attacks: Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who has repeatedly distanced himself from the president and maintains high approval ratings across party lines, Jenna Portnoy of the Post reports.