Regulators investigating Maryland medical marijuana grower for alleged pesticide use

State regulators are investigating allegations that a politically connected medical marijuana grower in Maryland illegally used pesticides in growing cannabis plants that were later harvested for sale to patients. Three former employees at the Anne Arundel County growing center of the cannabis producer ForwardGro made the charges in sworn allegations sent to the General Assembly last week by a newly formed association of companies in the medical marijuana business that oppose pesticide use in growing the plants. (Balt. Sun)

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New arena 'not recommended,' but second hotel endorsed as part of Baltimore Convention Center expansion

City and state economic development leaders have concluded that a plan to build a replacement for Royal Farms Arena on the site of the Baltimore Convention Center is too ambitious and complicated to be realistic. A group of officials evaluating options for convention center expansion decided that including an arena in the project is “not recommended” because of “significant operational and construction related challenges,” Michael Frenz, the Maryland Stadium Authority’s executive director, told Mayor Catherine Pugh in a letter Friday. (Balt. Sun)

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Developer strikes agreement to scale back Eastport project

A Baltimore developer has agreed to scale back building plans for new restaurants, shops and apartments at the shopping center in Eastport. The agreement resolves a longstanding dispute between a citizens group and the developer Solstice Partners LLC. The developer downsized the building plans by removing the top floor, reducing the front of the planned building from four to three stories. Community organizer Bill Reichhardt said the agreement represents a success by neighbors to influence development in their community. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland's medical cannabis commission approves another 7 dispensaries

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission expects to have licensed about 70 dispensaries by the end of next month, with hopes to clear the more than 100 pre-approved marijuana retailers for openings by 2019. The regulatory body for Maryland's medical marijuana industry awarded preliminary licenses to 102 separate dispensaries in November 2016. Initially, the commission expected the final licensing process to take only a year. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Klein Enterprises buys Leidos-occupied building in Windsor Mill

Baltimore's Klein Enterprises has purchased a 57,855-square-foot, fully-leased office building in Windsor Mill for an undisclosed sum. The singly-story property at 7152 Windsor Blvd. off Interstate 695 is 100 percent leased through February 2023 to defense contractor Leidos Innovations Corp. Leidos operates two federal government contracts at the property, supporting the Social Security Administration and IRS/SSA joint programs. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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July 6 // Maryland's minimum wage hike is one of several new laws that may affect your business

Maryland's minimum wage rose on July 1, affecting businesses across the state. As of July 1, the statewide minimum wage is now $10.10 per hour, up from $9.25 per hour. The increase was the final one from a law passed by the General Assembly in 2014. It's possible the minimum wage could go up again in coming years. Democrats considered proposals to raise the wage to $15 per hour in the most recent legislative session. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Datawatch Systems expanding in Bethesda

The commercial office security company Datawatch Systems is relocating and expanding in Bethesda. The company is moving to a new 25,000-square-foot space near its current headquarters on East West Highway and is planning to hire an additional 50 full-time workers over the next four years, according to state officials. Datawatch Systems President William F. Peel credited Maryland and Montgomery County for providing financial support that will help the company remain in Bethesda. (Bethesda)

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Baltimore restaurateurs join the war on straws

The plastic grocery bag — the pariah of the environment for its ability to fly into trees, kill sea creatures and clog landfills — has met its evil match. The lowly straw, the plastic vessel you use to slurp your Coke or cocktail, has become public enemy No. 1 as the push for a "Strawless Summer" gains both converts and enemies. At the forefront of this war on straws are local restaurateurs who are trying to do their part to reduce plastic waste created by their businesses. A long list of businesses — the Hotel Revival, the Boathouse Canton, Birroteca, Nickel Taphouse and Little Havana — have already joined in the trend. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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