The Maryland House of Delegates disciplined Del. Dan Morhaim on March 3 for using his office to influence medical cannabis regulators without properly disclosing that he was a paid consultant to a prospective dispensary.
The House voted 138-0 to reprimand Morhaim, a Democrat who represents District 11 in Baltimore County, for his involvement as a paid consultant and clinical director for Doctor’s Orders, a company that received preliminary licenses to grow, process and dispense medical cannabis in Maryland.
After a lengthy investigation into the matter that encompassed several months, the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics concluded that Morhaim violated the spirit of the state’s ethic laws. The report also found that Morhaim, an emergency medicine physician, did not break the letter of the law.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan told reporters at a news conference he thought Morhaim deserved a stricter punishment.
“In my opinion, somebody who has such complete disregard for the ethics laws of Maryland should be removed from office rather than slapped on the wrist,” Hogan said, according to reports.
In a three-page letter sent to colleagues the day before the vote, Morhaim, a leading advocate of the state’s medical cannabis initiative, formally apologized for blemishing the image of the legislature.
He blasted the wording of the state’s ethic rules, maintaining he did not break the principles or the letter of the law but “might have violated the spirit of the law.”
“Indeed, it was not enough to technically comply with the law,” the letter said. “I failed to appreciate public perception of the issues.”
Morhaim also took issue with the news media for what he dubbed an “erroneous” description of his activity. In the letter, he noted that The Washington Post published a correction to reflect he had made the required disclosures after running a story this past July that stated he did not.
Morhaim has vowed to stop working on medical cannabis issues and communicating with cannabis regulators and will terminate his relationship with Doctor’s Orders, according to the ethics committee report and his letter.
The reprimand will not cost Morhaim his seat, which he has held since first being elected to his position in 1994.
Read Dan Morhaim’s letter to the editor.