ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland report has found “a strong basis in evidence” that supports helping businesses owned by women and minorities in the types of industries that are relevant to the state’s fledgling medical marijuana industry.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration released the report Wednesday.

The report was conducted by Jon Wainwright, an economist and managing director of NERA Economic Consulting. Wainwright noted a disparity study that found discrimination continues to adversely impact minority- and women-owned firms throughout the Maryland economy.

The report supports efforts by lawmakers who are sponsoring legislation that would create five new medical marijuana cultivation licenses for minority-owned businesses. None of the 14 companies licensed to grow marijuana in the state has black owners.

A bill last year to add licenses failed in the closing minutes of the session.

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