Will General Assembly Force Morhaim Out?

Over two months ago I wrote about Delegate Dan Morhaim, who is involved in a scandal where he was caught trying to feather his own nest by writing laws regarding state marijuana regulations without disclosing that he had business connections to the weed industry.

The General Assembly may finally be catching up to him:

Ethics staff for the General Assembly are conducting a preliminary investigation into Del. Dan K. Morhaim’s ties to the medical marijuana industry, according to three people with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

The preliminary work precedes an Oct. 19 meeting of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, where some of Morhaim’s colleagues in the legislature will vote on whether to launch a full investigation into his conduct.

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Morhaim pushed to legalize medical marijuana in the state, advocated for the rules governing the industry and was a paid consultant for a company awarded two of the lucrative licenses to grow and dispense the drug.

The investigation would consider whether he violated any state ethics laws.

Morhaim declined to discuss the pending investigation. He issued a statement by email Thursday that said, “I followed all ethics rules and regulations. I will cooperate fully with the Legislative Ethics Committee.”

That Morhaim thinks that he has acted in an ethically sound manor shows just how pervasive Democratic corruption is in Annapolis and how these legislators who been the unchallenged party of power for so long think that they are untouchable. As I wrote back in July:

It’s the usual “what I did was legal under the law but I knew it wasn’t right and in hindsight I wish I did the right thing” defense. Except you know what the right thing would have been to do as much as I do. Morhaim owed it to his colleagues in the General Assembly and to the people of Maryland to be forthright and disclose his dealings with this company. He should have done the honorable thing and recused himself from the issue of medical marijuana so long as he was angling to directly profit from its legalization. These are basic ethical decisions that most people understand but Maryland Democrats routinely fail to put into practice.

As the decision goes to the  Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics next month, their decision should be a relative no-brainer; a full investigation should be launched against Morhaim for his undisclosed involvement with this company. If the panel composed of eight Democrats and four Republicans (including Congressional candidate Jamie Raskin) wants to take their role seriously, the only legitimate decision they can make is to recommend a full investigation take place. The people need to know what Morhaim’s involvement in the marijuana industry is, however it affected his decision to propose marijuana legalization in the General Assembly, and whether there were any other bills that were affected by Morhaim’s involvement in the marijuana industry.

It certainly seems that Dan Morhaim is a crooked politician bought off to deliver results through the legislative process. Since he won’t do the honorable thing and resign, the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics must take the next steps in order to press for Morhaim’s removal from the House of Delegates.

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