Letter from Del. Dan K. Morhaim

DAN K. MORHAIM. M.D. -. Annapolis O?irc

Lrgu/atiw District The Maryland House 0F Delegates
Unlmnon 6 Bladen Street, Room 362
Annapolis, Maryland 1:401
.L ?4.13 4ro-ll4i-3054 - 301-358-5054
Juditiary Committee I 8004917112 Em 3054
Fm 410-841-3385 - 3or-858-3385
P. O. Box 212
AN NAPOLIS, MARYLAND 21401 Stevenson, Maryland 11153
March 2, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

I would like to apologize to the members of the House of Delegates for bringing this body and
myself into a negative light in the public media. While I have consistently maintained and do
today that I did nothing wrong and complied with all laws, that was not enough. The harsh fact
is that being technically right is not enough.

At this deeply painful time in my public life, I feel I must speak to you my colleagues from
my heart and with candor about these events.

This controversy began with an erroneous report in the Washington Post that I had not properly
disclosed my medical consulting agreement with a medical cannabis license applicant. The Post
has since published a correction, con?rming I made the required disclosures. But other media
picked up the erroneous report. The damage was done.

No one complained to the Ethics Committee. Instead, I voluntarily reported the facts in a letter
to the Committee last summer. I also publicly announced I would refrain from legislative
involvement in any medical cannabis issues. And I have.

Many news outlets wrote and are still writing erroneous articles suggesting I did not make the
required disclosures. But I had. In fact, on July 14, 2016, the Ethics Adviser con?rmed in
writing that my disclosure ?lings were suf?cient. The Ethics Committee has now also
concluded that I made all of the required disclosure ?lings. (Jt. Comm Report, p. 10?12). I
appreciate this ?nding. 1 hope this will help correct the false perceptions about this issue.

I acted only in the public interest to get medical cannabis to patients as quickly as possible. I
also never acted with the intent to bene?t myself or Doctors Orders, the medical cannabis
applicant for whom I consulted. And let me be clear, I consulted solely on clinical medical
issues. I am pleased that the Joint Committee?s report 15) agrees that I did not act with the
intent to bene?t myself or my client.

"After a thorough review of the available evidence and Delegate Morhaim ?3 written and oral
statements to the Joint Committee, the Joint Committee finds that there is not sufficient evidence
to support a ?nding that Delegate Morhaim intentionally used his public position as Delegate to
specifically obtain the private gain for himself or his employer, and therefore, did not violate
5-5 06(a) of the General Provisions Article.

Indeed, my public testimony and communications with the Cannabis Commission were directly
contrary to my client?s economic interests. I publicly opposed allowing licenses to be treated as
commodities, such as liquor licenses, that could be sold on the open market. I favored allowing
all quali?ed providers to be licensed, something they also strongly opposed. As the Joint
Committee Report notes, my client Doctors Orders was ?furious? that I took positions ?contrary
to the company?s interest.?

These positions were consistent with positions I have taken for the last 15 years, the laws we
passed, and the public interest. And in fact, had the legislature and commission adopted these
positions, the State could have avoided the current controversy about underrepresentation of
geographic areas and of minority licensees.

Further, thejoint committee report also notes on 8) that I acted properly in seeking and
receiving approval from the ethics counselor before proceeding with last year?s House Bill

104. Nevertheless, certain media outlets continued to imply or stated outright that I had violated
ethics rules in this matter, despite the fact that they had documentation of the ethics


All of this leaves open the question: what exactly did I do wrong? The Joint Committee?s report
?nds that I violated neither the disclosure statute nor the private gain provisions of the

law. Indeed, the Joint Committee does not find that I violated any law or ethics rule. And I did

Instead, the Joint Committee ?nds that my actions ?were contrary to the principles of the
Maryland Public Ethics Law in accordance with the intent of the law.? 15) In other words, I
did not violate the letter of the law, but I might have violated the spirit of the law.

For the future, I am concerned about the fairness of a process that penalizes members who
comply with the clear letter of the law, but who can be found to violate the ?spirit? of the
law. We need clear bright lines.

If there is to be a new standard, it must be clear and unequivocal. It should not be a retroactive
standard, not found in the law, but created by ?spirit? and implication, at a time of great public
controversy about legislative ethics. If there is a need for legislation, then let us legislate. I will
be the ?rst to support it.

Nevertheless, to put this issue behind us, I accept the Committee?s decision. I do believe I made
mistakes, and I apologize for them. Indeed, it was not enough to technically comply with the
law. I failed to appreciate public perception of these issues.

For instance, when I gave my impromptu remarks to the Medical Cannabis Commission, I was
not required to disclose that I worked for a medical cannabis applicant. And I did not feel it was
apprOpriate to do so. I did not want to do anything to interfere with the Commission?s rigorous
double?blind screening process.

Moreover, the law and our ethics training tells us to make our disclosures in our public
?lings and not in committee, on the House floor or before a regulatory commission. And in
our history, no one has made these disclosures in committee, on the House ?oor, or before public
bodies, or been held to such a standard.

Yet in retrospect, a mention by me to the Cannabis Commission in my public remarks of my
consulting af?liation, while not technically required, might have avoided much public
controversy. There was never any intention on my part to conceal it, and in fact, I had disclosed
it in my public ?ling one year earlier and had disclosed it to the prior executive director of the

Medical cannabis licensing was and is a very public issue. I was a very visible legislative
?gure as a result of a 15-year effort to bring medical cannabis to patients. I did not recognize the
public perception that might be associated by my speaking before the Cannabis Commission on
regulatory issues, even if they were detrimental to my client?s interests. For this, I apologize.

I failed to recognize how the appearance of this could lead to signi?cant public misperception,
and even outright distortion. Some have even suggested that I held cannabis licenses. Of course,
that is false. For the record, I have never had any ?nancial or ownership interest in any medical
cannabis company nor does any member of my family.

I deeply regret that my actions have created such public perceptions and misperceptions. They
re?ect poorly on me, and on the House, an institution I love and have served for 23 years. I
would never knowingly embarrass the House. I have formally recused myself from any
legislative action on medical cannabis, an issue I care deeply about. I?ve been working along
with others since 2002 to bring this important medication to Maryland patients in a safe and
responsible way. It breaks my heart if anything I have done has impeded that process.

It is a profound honor for me to serve in the General Assembly. I have always worked hard to
follow our ethics rules, and I pledge to redouble my efforts to serve honorably and in the public
interest. I deeply regret and apologize for any actions on my part however they came about
that may have tarnished the public perception of the legislature and the hard and important work
that we all do.


Dan K. Morhaim