Another New Family

As I traveled around the country in 2013 during the first year of Oro Expeditions I spent a lot of time living in a tent. It was easy to do this because of my membership in a popular gold prospecting and mining club known as the Gold Prospectors Association of America.

 

We joined the GPAA in 2009 while I was still driving a truck around the country for a living. Being on the road all the time made it easy to visit quite a few leases and properties owned by them and I took advantage of this almost every weekend while trucking.

 

It only took a couple visits to some of GPAA’s eastern spots for me to realize that gold miners and rock hounds have a lot in common with over the road truck drivers. They both live outside the norms of modern society and most live a solitary life with occasional “get-togethers” with “like-minded” individuals who share their passion.

 

Turns out I traded one “family” for another one when I retired from trucking.

 

I have been to and lived in quite a few gold camps around the country due to the fact that we joined multiple groups and clubs since 2013 in order to have plenty of places to go to prospect and mine.

 

In 2014 and 15 my wife Paula and I lived, full time, in various camps in the eleven western states and we replaced driving a truck with pulling a small box  trailer which we used to haul motorcycles for profit.

 

The trailer also served as our RV when we wanted to be in gold camp. We had a queen sized air bed along with a really cool kitchen setup for Paula. With a big tarp propped up on the side of the trailer it made for a very comfortable camp.

 

This year we took the next step with GPAA and joined the sister company known as Lost Dutchman Mining Association or LDMA for short.

It is actually the original club that was formed in the 60’s by the founder, George Massie.

 

We belong to and pay dues with 3 other gold prospecting clubs around the country but the LDMA is the biggest and best when it comes to that “family feeling”.

 

As a warm up for what should be a great season for Oro Expeditions we traveled south to North Carolina last week for our first visit to one of the LDMA camps. Vein Mountain LDMA is located in the central part of the state and sits on the western edge of the “quartz belt” that runs the entire length of the east coast.

 

We found out how special it is to be members of this huge club by spending a week on the property where we were treated like royalty by the caretakers, Brian and Vonda Yoder. A big THANK YOU to them and the other members in camp for a fantastic time. We are looking forward to returning in the fall.

 

My point with this post is that for 30 years I was part of the trucking industry which used to be like being part of a family. We kept to ourselves and spent most of our time in the company of other drivers and truckers due to the fact that we were always on the road.

Since retiring from the industry in February of 2013 that is the one thing I will always miss. The comradery of a family of truckers.

 

Today, after 4 years of struggling to make something out of Oro Expeditions, we have “ARRIVED” due to joining up with our newest family known as LDMA and all the great people associated with the company.

 

We are looking forward to our next trip which will be to the great state of Oregon to a place known as Blue Bucket. While there we will be participating in our first group event with LDMA along with having front row seats to the EPIC Solar Eclipse that will take place during the event.

Most exciting is the fact that the camp is almost dead center on the center line within the “Path of Totality” so our experience should be extraordinary to say the least.

 

Take a few minutes to surf over to http://www.goldprospectors.org/ and check out all the benefits of being a member of our gold mining family.

The best part is you get to keep ALL the gold you find. 😉

 

More Later…

FINALLY… the next update…

This is from my Writing.com account.

Now is a good time to check in here for a quick update post. The 2017 gold season is in full swing as the wife and I just returned from the first leg of “Oro Expeditions 17”.

We traveled south to the great state of North Carolina to check out a gold camp that belongs to the group we just joined up with. They are known as the Lost Dutchman Mining Association or LDMA for short. They have numerous properties all over the west along with a few in the southeast and even one in Michigan that members can visit to find gold.

Most people are not aware of the fact that some people are able to go out in the country to a stream or river and find raw gold in its natural form but it is true.
Actually there are thousands of miners, like myself, that depend on the gold they find for about 70% to 80% of their income and then there are those who look for it on a recreational basis.

The original plan we made included visiting two of the three LDMA camps located in North Carolina and north Georgia but once we pitched camp at the first site it became very hard to leave due to the fun we were having and the gold we was finding so we stayed a few extra days.

I got a chance to try my 3″ suction dredge which I had recently overhauled and added a new engine with a 1″ water pump installed on it. I was stoked to see if it worked and it did. We ended up with a few grains and flakes of gold worth about 50 bucs and a successful test of the dredge.
We made new friends and got a chance to see how much you are treated like family when staying at these camps.

Another part of the plan was to travel to the historic town of Franklin NC as part of a birthday present for my wife, Paula.
The area is known for gemstones and “pay to dig” sites that let you keep all you find for a small fee.
After a quiet stay at one of the local motels and an interesting self guided tour of the town we headed for a place called Masons Mine which is famous for the sapphires, garnets, and rubies there.

Upon arrival we paid our fee and was given a quick lesson about the mine and what to look for. The whole thing consisted of an authentic mine in the side of the mountain where they retrieved the pay dirt which was placed inside a fenced area for safety sake.
Everyone who paid the fee was allowed inside the fenced area that contained to large piles of dirt known as “mine tailings” with two small buckets.

Using the shovels provided we scooped up 4 buckets of dirt that contained small pieces of gemstones. We took the buckets back outside the fenced in area to a “gem flume” which is a big wooden trough with water flowing through it to wash the dirt away from the gravel that contains the good stuff.

Paula had a blast even though the “mine dirt” didn’t produce much but the back up plan of buying a couple bags of “pay dirt” with some good stuff salted in to take home with us was put in place so she ended up with some very pretty rocks.

From there we traveled to another favorite spot of mine just across the Tennessee border where there is a GPAA lease with a nice quiet campground. This was the place where I started my company with the first Expedition in 2013 so it was very cool to return even though there was no one in camp at the time.

We headed north back to western Maryland for the time being to put the finishing touches on the plan we have for August that includes traveling west to eastern Oregon for two reasons.
Gold, of course, but more importantly the historic Solar Eclipse.
The gold camp we will be at for a special club event sits directly on the center line within the “Path of Totality” so we will have a front row seat for the whole thing.

I will be adding chapters to my book about the trip and the Eclipse and sharing some of the stories here. .

Timber Rattlesnakes vs. Lyme Disease

New research by a team of University of Maryland biologists shows the timber rattlesnake indirectly benefits humans by keeping Lyme disease in check.

Source: Timber Rattlesnakes vs. Lyme Disease

Dad and I… a Contest Entry

I went to visit with my father yesterday because it has been a very trying time lately and when I spend time with him everything seems OK for just a little while. I have a few people in my life who “Raise Me Up” but Dad has been doing it the longest. Even from the grave his spiritual presence is important to my everyday life.

Dad has always been there for me no matter what. One time when I was in my twenties, young and dumb, my father showed me how strong a fathers love is for his son when he decided to meet with me in secret to let me know the FBI was closing in and I was about to be arrested for a huge mistake I had made. He broke federal law to protect me, his son.

Dad and I shared many good times together due to the fact that he was also my Scout Master in Boy Scouts. The most memorable was the cross country trip we took together with another Boy Scout troop to a high adventure camp in New Mexico. We endured the hardest backpacking itinerary they had to offer which was a grueling 78 mile hike with full pack over a period of 14 days

There were many planned activities and things to do at every camp site including gold panning, burro packing, mountaineering, search and rescue training, and much more.

The entire trip and experience inspired my father to write a poem that explained everything about our time together and I read it occasionally just for a pick me up.

Dad was not only my father but he was my best friend and mentor too. He was strict but fair. He was a quiet man but he was known to “carry a big stick” when needed. Over and above everything else he was and still is my HERO.

Oro Expedition 17… What’s Up This Year

Outpost Stumble DownThe temperature is rising a little more every day as we get ready to welcome the month of May. Here in winter quarters in western Maryland the process takes a week or two longer than the rest of the state due to the change in elevation but the local forecast is calling for 70’s and occasional rain for the next week.

I have had quite a few people inquire about the plans for Oro Expeditions for the 2017 season so I figured it was time to share that which Paula Cas and I have been talking about all winter but first I want to take a few minutes to explain the recent past and the lack of an Expedition last year.

It was a cold day in October of 2015 that we returned to Maryland after spending two months in central Nevada where we had been invited to work a private hard rock claim. We had only been back for a few weeks when I did some serious damage to my back and neck. It was the beginning of a very painful time but also a most revealing time because after many troubles in the past with my back this was the time when I decided to find out just how bad it was.

Three MRI’s and three x-rays later, it was clear how much damage a lifetime of driving truck along with two major traumatic events had done to my back and neck. To top it off I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, stenosis, and a total of five bad disk in my back and neck. Thanks to all of that I have been placed into a “pain management” program which means I will be on some pretty heavy duty pain medication for the rest of my life. 1381175_10202182253375206_839364771_n

Some would say “Oh no what a bummer.” but not me. The fact is I have a limited number of productive mining seasons left so I will be making the most of every one of them and that begins today. This is where the plans for 2017 will pick up where 2015 left off.

It was August of 2015 in northern California where I met a man named Dave. He had an offer for me that on one hand was almost too good to be true but on the other hand seemed very doable to me at the time.

After a chance meeting at our camp on the Klamath River, the offer was made for us to purchase a package deal that included a hover craft and 4 very exclusive gold claims on a large well known river in Alaska. Dave made it clear to us that he wanted Oro Expeditions to have this deal because he had done his research on me and the company and admired the way I had started the whole thing. Along with how quickly became a fairly successful gold miner.

I have spent a lot of time since August of 2015 putting together a lucrative investment package known as “Oro Expedition Alaska Extreme”. During the winter and early spring of 2016 I had high hopes of that season being the one that would see the Expedition in “The Land of The Midnight Sun” suction dredging a large river with millions of dollars in gold in it but the medical problems would not permit it.

When I realized it was time to get to the bottom things with my back and neck, I also realized the 2016 season would be a bust due to the recuperating process taking an unknown amount of time.

So now we jump ahead to the present, and things are really looking up for a slightly limited season this year that will include a return to many of the western locations we visited in 2015 along with the possibilities of taking the Expedition north of the Canadian border. That is the outline for the year and now for some of the details we have figured out to get things rolling in that direction.

Along with some destinations I visited in 2013 on the first Expedition like north Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and Alabama we are planning to make a trip to the northeast and the shiny yellow metal of New Hampshire and western Maine. This trip will probably take place later in the year before the cold weather moves in.

A trip to the eleven western states will include visits to many of the locations we were at in 2015. Places like southwest Oregon, Happy Camp California, central Nevada and multiple locations in Arizona are all included on the list.

One new location will be added to the list when we head to Arkansas for clear quartz and maybe even a side trip to the Crater of Diamonds State park. I hear the likelihood of scoring a sizable diamond has increased in the past few years so it has been added to the list as well.

That is an outline of how the 2017 season is shaping up, and if my back and neck cooperate, there is a good chance this is the year Oro Expeditions makes it to the Yukon and Alaska.

Regardless of whether or not we make it north, there will be a lot of mining and rock-hounding to be done here in the lower forty eight. So, stay tuned to our social media sites, especially to the official  Oro Expeditions Website.  Changes and updates will be ongoing so be sure to bookmark the site so you can check on our progress.

Oro Expedition FB

Oro Expeditions Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, Now, Future. Nutshell Version

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Oro Expediton 15… An hour of hard work on the Klamath River, Northern CA

Then…

Was April 2013. That was the month and year I kicked off Oro Expeditions. It was also the year I ended a 30 year career driving a truck across this great country. It was kinda funny and ironic how that all ended and maybe I will tell more of that story someday but for now I am going to start this “nutshell” with a beginning instead of an ending.

The first Expedition kicked off without glamour. I gathered up all of my basic camping gear along with a weeks worth of food and plenty of clean clothes. The last thing to be loaded into the “Nugget Buggy” was everything I owned to prospect for gold. It was a short list. 2 5 gallon buckets, a short-handled round pointed shovel, a home-made 1/2 in. classifier, and my lucky gold pan given to me as a gift for joining a famous gold club. The last thing on the list was the directory of all the places in the US this club had the rights to prospect and mine for gold.

On the 14th of April, 2013, early in the afternoon, two things happened at the same time. I pulled out of the driveway in western Maryland to begin Oro Expedition 13, a dream of mine for sometime come true and at the same time on the same day a cute little puppy was born that would drop into my life 7 months later in central California during a Christmas blizzard.

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I spent 13 months on the gold trail that first year with only one 4 day stay at the house for my wife’s birthday. I traveled to quite a few south-eastern states including North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee all of which were abundant with the shiny yellow stuff along with numerous different semi precious stones of all colors and shapes.

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East Tennessee Gold
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NC & GA Gemstones

After many rain filled days spent working the small streams of the east my operation was able to move to the eleven western states in pursuit of much larger gold and much more plentiful gold.

Starting in Colorado and working my way across to Oregon I was able to prospect and find gold every time I crossed a state line. Landing in southwest Oregon and then working my way south as September turned into November, I followed the gold trail to central California high in the Sierra Nevada.

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Chinese tailings SW Oregon
Outpost Stumble Down
Gold Camp in the High Sierra, Central CA

The end of one year and the beginning of a new one also felt like something new for Oro Expeditions was about to start as I made my way back to Maryland in late January of 2014.

Now…

I’m not sure where to start with the “now” part of this story so I will begin with what I know about my physical well-being and how it may or may not affect the 2017 gold and gemstone season and beyond.

I have had a history of back trouble since my early twenties when I was involved in a serious fall from a carnival ride I was working on. Then in 2001 I was struck by lightning and of course the back took the worst of it. Then back in 2006 I injured the lower back bad enough I couldn’t walk or sit up straight for almost a week. Once again somewhere around 2015 while helping a friend I blew multiple disks out and found out what lifetime chronic pain feels like.

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Lumbar Traction… feels great

I have been on a pain program for over a year and the meds I use to get pain relief work well. These are meds I will be on for the rest of my life unless something better is invented. The use of cannabis is a large part of my medical battle with pain along with other problems that use letters to describe them. THC heals them all.

My right shoulder was recently operated on to remove bone spurs and other fun stuff like shortening my collarbone and relocation of my bicep muscle. The good news is it is healing nicely and will be ready for the coming season.

Once again I regress. Back to the season at hand.

Future…

I look ahead to the 2017 gold and gemstone season and I see an Expedition that could be the biggest one yet and also one that could be worthy of a spot on one of the reality TV channels. The plan includes multiple locations in the lower 48 along with plans for at least 1 trip up north to the Yukon and interior Alaska. Thanks to the arthritis in my back it might be my last chance to see the Land of The Midnight Sun.

Something I want to focus on this year is a program that involves teaching people, especially children, how to prospect and pan for gold. We will be promoting this wherever we may go and will be posting locations and dates as early as possible. If you check the upcoming schedule we will be posting and we are in your area you will be able to come hang out with us in Gold Camp and learn the basics of finding the shiny yellow metal.

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We will be focusing on creating two permanent spaces which will allow us to work year round depending on the season. One will be located on our desert claims located in central Arizona. The other will be somewhere in the northwest with possibilities in Canada and Alaska. Returning back to a plan from 2013 and the first Expedition, I would like to have the whole north south program located in the lower 48 states with future Expeditions expanding northward and also world-wide to exotic locations like “down under”, and also South America. Big ideas or BIG plans to be turned into reality? You decide. For me and my lovely wife we believe it is all doable and more.

I started out calling this piece a “Nutshell” version but I always get a little carried away with excitement when it comes to warm weather and the pursuit of gold and other shiny things so bear with me …  hehe

More later…

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Updates From The Western Mining Alliance

AMRA FUNDS LEGAL EFFORT
Many thanks to AMRA and AMRA members for contributing $3,000 to paying off our current legal bills. This brings us really close to being zero balance with the lawyers.
AMRA has repeatedly funded the right effort at the right time including contributing substantially to the Rinehart case, the Oregon case and our San Bernardino litigation.
Our thanks also to Motherlode Gold Hounds for helping
fund the Rinehart amicus brief.
SIERRA FUND AND LAKE COMBIE TO GET ANOTHER $6.1 MILLION
Based on the astounding success of being able to recover mercury ( 2 grams total) at the cost of $1 million per gram Governor Brown announced another healthy heaping of graft to be bestowed on the project. You can read the article here. https://yubanet.com/regional/governors-budget-includes-funding-to-improve-waterquality-and-water-storage-at-combie-reservoir/
WATER BOARD HEARINGS
We’re done with the Water Board hearings. We’ve provided them with a lot of information
and references which we hope they’ll read. Ultimately this is a political decision, not a science decision. If it was based on science we’d be confident of the outcome. We have continued to work with the Water Board through the public input period and we are trying
to schedule separate briefings to the directors of the Water Board. We hope to have this
meeting sometime in April. Thanks to everyone who took the time to attend, and present.
LEGAL SAN BERNARDINO HEARINGS PUSHED BACK AGAIN
Trial date is: July 12th, 2017
Environmentalists Push for Washington Ban
Yet another front in the dredging war is opened with environmentalists pushing for a California style dredging ban. You can read the article here. https://www.wateronline.com/doc/lawsuit-launched-rivers-salmon-from-destructive-suction-dredge-mining-0001
Pacific Legal Foundation submits Rinehart petition on time
On February 10th Pacific Legal submitted the petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the California Supreme Court decision in Rinehart.
WMA Preparing Amicus Brief in Support of Petition.
Thanks to everyone who provided supporting material for the Amicus brief in support of the Rinehart petition. Our brief is due on 10 March, we should have a draft of it this week.
Submit for Section 404 Permits Now
If you hope to dredge legally this summer then you should be requesting your Section 404 Clean Water Act permits from the Army Corps of Engineers. We have posted some samples on our web page, but each permit request must be specific to that operation. According to California Senate Bill 637 three permits are required. First you must obtain a federal Clean Water Act permit, this is the Section 404 permit. Secondly you must obtain a state water quality permit or waiver. The state, once you have a Section 404 permit, can issue a Section 401 certification, but only after you have obtained your federal permit. Finally, you must obtain a Fish and Game permit. Although it’s a long process, you are guaranteed to not
have a permit if you don’t submit.

Maryland, hampered by lawsuits and legislation, struggles to get medical marijuana program off the ground

Maryland lawmakers are considering various solutions to address a lack of diversity in medical marijuana licenses, and dealing with two lawsuits.

via Maryland, hampered by lawsuits and legislation, struggles to get medical marijuana program off the ground — The Cannabist

SIN CITY wants to SMOKE!!

A Las Vegas state senator says Nevada’s history of promoting vices and allowing indoor smoking make it prime to legalize public sites to consume marijuana.

via Vegas tourists need public places to smoke their weed, says state senator — The Cannabist

Maryland, hampered by lawsuits and legislation, struggles to get medical marijuana program off the ground

By Natalie Schwartz, Capital News Service

Patient registry begins this month, but concerned residents are worried that bills may push back the rollout date even further

Source: The Cannabist

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — After Carey Tilghman’s 6-year-old daughter, Paisley, suffered from a stroke, doctors drafted a plan to use a round of Botox injections and muscle relaxers to treat her condition.

Searching for an alternative for her daughter, Tilghman found that a transdermal patch filled with cannabis, which has been linked to shielding the brain from stroke damage, could possibly be helpful to her daughter, but she hasn’t been able access the drug in Maryland’s stalled medical cannabis industry.

Maryland has had one of the slowest rollouts of medical marijuana in the country.

The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, which grants the licenses to growers, processors and dispensers, has been hampered by legal battles and pending legislation in the Maryland General Assembly since the state legalized medical cannabis in 2014.

This legislative session, state lawmakers are considering a spate of bills outlining different solutions intended to address a lack of diversity in licenses, and two lawsuits that have delayed the rollout of Maryland’s nascent medical cannabis industry.

The commission expects medical cannabis to be available to patients this summer, according to Vanessa Lyon, a spokeswoman for the group. Patient registry for the drug begins this month, but concerned residents are worried that bills may push back the rollout date even further.

“We can’t delay access,” Tilghman said. “(Paisley) deserves to have a transdermal patch and play like a kindergartener can play. They want her on muscle relaxers; they want her to have surgery. How do you be a kindergartner on muscle relaxers?”

“You can’t,” she added, choking up.

The commission was tasked with ensuring racial and geographical diversity in their selection process, and on Dec. 9 it announced pre-approvals for 102 businesses to sell medical cannabis, which broke down into 15 growers, 15 processors, and 72 dispensaries.

However, preference for minority business owners may violate the Constitution, said Cheryl A. Brown Whitfield, principal counsel of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The state would need to conduct a study to evaluate whether discrimination does exist in the medical cannabis industry before it could take race-conscious measures in awarding licenses, said Zenita Hurley, the attorney general’s director of legislative affairs and civil rights. This study could take up to two years.

The commission used Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute to rank the company applicants. RESI used a double-blind system that did not take into account the race of owners, which resulted in the commission failing to award licenses that ensure adequate minority representation, said Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore.

While the commission has listed the rankings of each company, it has not released the scores and the criteria for which they were ranked, said Darrell Carrington, policy director for the medical cannabis division of Greenwill Consulting, a government relations firm.

“We’re all flying blind right now because the commission refuses to release the scores,” Carrington said. “The rankings are meaningless if we don’t have the scores. How do we know how to move forward properly and know if we’re really making corrections to increase diversity and the like, if we don’t know the difference between (the companies) was 5, 10, or 30 (points).”

Maryland includes a black or African-American population of 30.5 percent, a white population of 59.6 percent, and 9.9 percent who identify as another minority, according to data collected by the U.S. Census as of 2015.

The majority of the companies selected for pre-approvals for growing and processing are led by white owners.

Of the 11 companies with pre-approved growing licenses that reported demographic data to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, about 85 percent of the owners are white, about 8 percent are black, and about 7 percent identify as another racial minority. The nine pre-approved processing companies that reported data showed similar numbers, with 73 percent white ownership, about 15 percent black ownership, and about 12 percent other minority ownership.

The companies selected have about 76 percent male ownership and 24 percent female ownership.

Moreover, after complaints surfaced that the commission didn’t fairly include representation in areas of southeastern Maryland, the commission revised their original unanimous decision on the 15 companies slated to receive growing licenses by bumping two higher-scoring applicants and replacing them with two lower-scoring applicants in the underrepresented areas.

GTI, one of the companies originally awarded a coveted pre-approval license, had already picked out a site in Washington County and began developing a plan to produce medical cannabis when they were replaced, said Delegate Brett Wilson, R-Washington. The company has since joined the other business bumped from the list, Maryland Cultivation and Processing LLC, in suing the commission.

The commission has been operating without oversight or transparency, Glenn said. “They can’t answer why they made the decisions they made.”

To address the lack of ownership diversity, the Legislative Black Caucus, which Glenn heads, has proposed two emergency bills that would overhaul the 15-member commission and reinstate it with members who reflect the racial and geographical diversity of the state.

Sarah Hoyt, director of government affairs for the commission, wrote in testimony that this emergency legislation would “substantially delay the availability of medical cannabis to qualifying patients” by as much as two years.

But Glenn said her legislation would not slow the arrival of the medical cannabis industry.

“The commission operated in an arbitrary, opaque and misleading fashion,” said Pete Kadens, CEO and director of GTI, adding that overhauling the “inefficient” commission would actually speed the rollout of the long-awaited industry.

Kadens said he supported the 15 companies who have been pre-approved to start operating immediately.

“Even though we were displaced for the purpose of geographic diversity, even though we scored higher on merit than five of the companies that now have pre-approvals for the state, even though we feel we were wronged, we do not want the patients of the state to be further distressed,” Kadens said.

One of Glenn’s bills would issue five to seven more licenses for both growers and processors. The bill would also give heavier consideration to businesses with majority black ownership.

The second bill would disband the current commission to create a nine-member Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Licensing Unit. This new group would award new grower licenses in future years and would have a fund to provide minority- and women-owned medical cannabis businesses with loans.

Wilson has proposed a separate bill that would increase the number of growers from 15 to 17 to reinstate the two geographically bumped companies’ on the list. This could fix what he called a “fairness issue,” adding that it will likely immediately stop any pending litigation, he said.

Wilson said he doesn’t oppose the other bills and that it’s possible a number of the five bills may merge into “one bill that accomplishes everything.”

“We’re not in conflict with other bills,” Wilson said. “We don’t stand against the other proposals in any way.”

Delegate David Vogt, R-Carroll and Frederick, has also proposed a bill that attempts to squash the pending lawsuits, while also increasing minority and women ownership. His solution would accept the commission’s next 10 ranked applicants, which have been selected as alternates should any of the 15 growing businesses that have been pre-approved fall through.

This bill wouldn’t impact how the commission measures any of the businesses that have been tentatively approved, but it would impact any new ones that haven’t been measured by requiring the commission to give extra weight to minority- and women-owned businesses.

Vogt’s bill also proposes to distribute grant money to the businesses’ local communities. The money would be used for infrastructure improvements, increased security and community development. He added that the amount, $250,000 for each area, is a “nominal amount” and that “ultimately, (the state is) going to get that impact money back — 10, 20 times over — with the tax revenue.”

Vogt, like Wilson, noted that he thinks it’s likely to create one bill that combined components from each to address the problems in the long-awaited industry.

However, Glenn said she only supports the bills she is sponsoring.

Brian Bickerton, chairman of Mazey Farms, an alternate growing company ranked twentieth by the commission, said while he supports Vogt’s bill, he’s in favor of any legislation that moves the industry forward. His company has been waiting to officially launch its business for over two years.

“(It’s) been a long and arduous process,” Bickerton said. “There’s been a lot of tears on our end, but we believe in what we do, we believe in this industry, and we believe in the much-needed medicine that needs to get to the patients.”

Mazey Farms is majority minority-owned, Bickerton said, adding that he thinks the best way to address the lawsuits and the diversity issues is to allow the commission’s next 10 alternative businesses to obtain licenses.

Carrington said it’s hard at this point to know which bill will be “the vehicle that will move (the industry) forward.”

However, taking the next 10 growing alternates, as Vogt’s bill proposes, would significantly address the diversity problem without a delay, Carrington said.

“I can’t stand another delay,” Tilghman said, her daughter, Paisley, leaning on her. “If another delay is put in place (Maryland will) lose a lifelong resident.”