Anne Arundel County’s top official may publicly disapprove of medical marijuana, but he sure does love for another kind of green stuff.
On March 16, the Capital reported that County Executive Steve Schuh was trying to block variances for medical marijuana dispensaries. At the same time, the county’s administrative hearing officer disappeared with no explanation, and the county spokesperson mumbled something about having no idea that now marijuana was legal for medical use, lots of people would actually want to sell it in Anne Arundel County.
While Steve Schuh claims he’s against medical cannabis going back to 2015 when he tried to ban dispensaries in the County, his campaign finance reports show a much different story. Mr. Schuh has accepted at least $41,610 from medical marijuana growers and dispensaries since he took office.
Medical marijuana is a hot topic, and whether a political candidate is for or against it can make a big difference at the voting booths. For example, a Washington Post/University of Maryland Poll from 2016 showed that while the majority of Maryland’s liberals and moderates favor legalization of small quantities of marijuana for recreational purposes (75% and 65% respectively), only 45% of conservatives support such a move. Many believe that medical marijuana is the first step towards legal recreational use. Mr. Schuh doesn’t want to upset his base of conservative voters but does so enjoy those dollar signs.
This isn’t the first time that Mr. Schuh has made statements that contradict his behavior. His dealings with Roy Moore come to mind as just one example. Will he now promise to return funds provided by an industry that he so publicly holds in disdain, or does County Executive Schuh care more for his money than his morals?
The reported campaign contributions are as follows (detailed accounts can be found here):
ForwardGro LLC/Bell Nursery – $2,500 from ForwardGro LLC, $5,000 each from company President Gary Mangum and his wife Sonia, $2,500 from Donna Sage, Director of Marketing
Advanced Alternative Therapies/2029 West LLC – $5,000 contributed by 2029West LLC, $5,500 by David Podgrog of 2029West LLC, $6,000 from Lawrence Adler ($5,000 as an individual and $1,000 through his company, Serenity Acres) Note: Mr. Podrog is under federal investigation for alleged workplace discrimination violations at his former business, Maritime Carwash.
GDP LLC/Green Point Wellness – $2,500 contributed by Nursery LLC, addressed to 8359 B&A Blvd, which is the address of Twain’s Tavern – The co-owner of Green Point Wellness and owner of Twain’s Tavern is Tony Toskov
Alternative Medicine Maryland – $2,500 contributed by Gregory F Daniel, MD, CEO
Durjaya LLC – $3,000 contributed by Durjaya LLC
Kind Therapeutics – $1,110 from Dr. Susan Zimmerman Than, CEO
MaryMed LLC – $1,000 contributed by MaryMed LLC
This may or may not be a comprehensive list. So many of the County Executive’s campaign contributions come from shady and mysterious Limited Liability Companies, it’s difficult to unravel who paid what to whom.
Steuart Pittman, the Democratic candidate for County Executive who is Schuh’s opponent in the upcoming election, gave this statement to the Arundel Patriot:
“Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Maryland. We have County residents with chronic pain who prefer marijuana treatment over prescription opioids. Schuh should not be playing politics with planning and zoning as a way to block these legal businesses from serving patients.”
One thing’s for sure; Schuh, known for his dirty campaigning, will not take the “high” road in this upcoming election against Pittman.
Vicky Bruce is a writer, filmmaker, and editor at The Arundel Patriot.
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