ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – A Maryland lawmaker under an ethics review said Wednesday that Gov. Larry Hogan owes him an apology for saying he could be thrown out of the legislature for “illegal activities.”
Hogan made the comments when asked about Del. Dan Morhaim’s proposal to create safe consumption spots for heroin addicts, which Hogan described as “insane.” The Republican governor went on to say Morhaim, a Democrat, could be thrown out of the legislature for his role shaping medical marijuana legislation and for being a consultant for a company seeking a license to grow marijuana.
“I think it’s absolutely insane,” Hogan said of the delegate’s bill. “And, as you know, I believe today Del. Morhaim has the potential of being thrown out of the legislature for illegal activities and arranging to get himself two (medical) marijuana licenses after writing the legislation and lobbying to put people on the commission. Now, he’s trying to legalize heroin. I’m not sure if he’s just trying to get another license to sell heroin, but his proposal is idiotic.”
Morhaim, who is a doctor, wrote in an email that “Governor Hogan’s statements are patently false, and he knows it.”
“I strictly complied with the ethics laws,” Morhaim added. “And of course, I have no interest in medical cannabis companies and did not obtain licenses for anyone. He owes me an apology.”
Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan, said the governor has no intention of apologizing.
“In fact, he is calling on the legislature to update Marylanders on the status of their closed-door investigation into Delegate Morhaim’s activities, including whether he will be removed from office for his conduct,” Chasse wrote in an email. “Furthermore, we’d like to know why the General Assembly has failed to take action on the administration’s ethics legislation. If the delegate thinks his actions were even remotely ethical it’s all the more clear that we need to pass real ethics reforms to clean up this mess in Annapolis.”
Hogan had been asked about Morhaim’s legislation after declaring a state of emergency because of the state’s heroin crisis.
The General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which is comprised of House and Senate members of both parties, handles reviews in confidentiality, and members have declined to comment about the review.
Morhaim has been a leading advocate for legislation to allow medical marijuana in Maryland.
The Baltimore County delegate also sponsored legislation last year that successfully expanded the law to allow dentists, podiatrists and certain registered nurses – as well as physicians – to certify patients as eligible to receive marijuana. He also was a consultant for Doctors Orders, a company that has been selected as a finalist to both grow and process medical marijuana in the state. Morhaim has said he cleared his involvement with the legislature’s ethics adviser.
The licensing process in Maryland’s developing medical marijuana program has been extremely competitive. There were 146 applicants for 15 licenses to grow marijuana.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.