Greenwill CEO Lanier Recaps Developments in Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission

From Marijuana Business Daily …

Changing face of Maryland’s MMJ commission

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission – which governs the state’s MMJ industry – is undergoing a significant face-lift after the governor replaced a majority of the panel.

The overhaul could also mean changes are in store for MMJ license winners and applicants still seeking permits, said Ivan Lanier, the CEO of Greenwill Consulting Group, a Maryland government affairs consultancy. Some companies, for example, could lose their licenses if they aren’t up and running on schedule, he noted.

“The big issue this new commission will have is that there will potentially be a few growers, processors and dispensaries that may not be operational (as planned),” Lanier said.

The businesses in question could have “some capital issues,” he added, “so the commission may have to come back and take a very hard look at the applicants that were awarded (licenses) and decide who has the capital, who’s on track to open and so on.”

So there could be a shake-up in which applicants who were initially denied licenses may wind up with MMJ business permits, Lanier suggested.

“We certainly don’t want growers and processors that are looking to open in the next two to three years when they’re supposed to be open within a one-year timeline,” he said.

The commission also could:

  • Give more consideration to diversity in issuing licenses, since that’s been a hot-button controversy in Maryland and the panel includes some minority members.
  • Decide to issue additional licenses, meaning many applicants that didn’t win dispensary or cultivation permits may still be in line for permits.

“Certainly everyone is holding their breath and hoping that this new commission will review the past decisions … and start to do another round of applicants,” Lanier said.

Greenwill’s Lanier & Nash Present to Hancock Town Council

From the Herald-Mail . . .

HANCOCK — After representing Hancock during the past Maryland General Assembly session, representatives of the Greenwill Consulting Group last week shared some ideas for the future.

Ivan V. Lanier and Katie Nash of the government-relations firm presented a list of what they called some “key initiatives” during a Hancock Town Council meeting on Wednesday evening.

“We’re kind of your eyes and ears in dealing with the madness in Annapolis,” Lanier said.

The list ranged from public-works efforts, such as wastewater-treatment upgrades, to qualify-of-life issues, such as funding for senior-citizen activities.

One of the town’s interests is keeping a Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park maintenance facility open in Hancock, Nash said.

“Everything is a little bit up in the air” concerning federal funding, she said.

Passage of the Clean Water Commerce Act of 2017 could open opportunities for the town to apply for grant money for wastewater-treatment plant upgrades, Lanier and Nash said.

“That’s something we want to make sure we keep on everybody’s radar screens,” Nash said.

Medical marijuana also is an issue of interest to the town because Harvest of Maryland LLC plans to run a cultivating operation at the former Fleetwood Travel Trailer facility in Hancock.

Lanier and Nash said they believe there will be a special session of the General Assembly this fall to address the issues of additional licenses and minority participation in the state’s program.

Nash urged Hancock officials to address not only social and medical topics at issue in the cannabis debates, but also the “real, tangible benefits” to the town, such as additional jobs.

When it comes to budget issues, Lanier urged town officials not to wait until the session starts to begin talking about the area’s needs.

“That starts now,” he said.

Among other things, the firm also suggested:

• Researching Main Street facade funding opportunities.

• Brainstorming about creating a business association, as well as a business appreciation week.

• Attracting more visitors to the town by working with existing organizations, such as Hancock in Motion, and establishing new events, such as a Hancock triathlon.

• Looking into opportunities for Hancock residents to serve on state boards and commissions.

Delays, diversity and potential: Q&A with Maryland marijuana consultant Ivan Lanier

October 11, 2016

Delays, diversity and potential: Q&A with Maryland marijuana consultant Ivan Lanier

Ivan Lanier - Greenwill

By Omar Sacirbey

Maryland business consultant Ivan Lanier is selective about his clients, which bodes well for two entrepreneurs he agreed to help enter the state’s medical cannabis industry.

“I won’t jump into anything if I don’t think I’m going to win,” said Lanier, who founded Greenwill Consulting Group in 2002.

Lanier and daughter Jeanette Ortiz have built a client list that includes companies from heavily regulated sectors including pharmaceuticals and gaming.

So when Dr. Kimberly Brown and Jacob Van Wingerden approached Lanier about applying for medical marijuana business licenses under Maryland’s new MMJ program, Lanier said Greenwill could help.

In August, Van Wingerden won a grow license under the name SunMed Growers. Brown will learn later this year the fate of a dispensary application for her venture, Pharmacan.

Lanier, Greenwill’s CEO, and Brown are among a handful of African-American marijuana entrepreneurs in Maryland, where blacks account for about 30% of the state’s population.

Marijuana Business Daily spoke with Lanier about succeeding in Maryland’s competitive application process, how the program can be improved and broadening the industry’s racial diversity.

What do winners need to do to get off to a good start?

These growers have to secure the final options on the property, capital, lock in their locations, hire industry expertise. They also have to gain local zoning approval. They have to do all of that within 365 days. Additionally, they’re submitting their Stage 2 applications, which contain their background, financials and so on … . You have to be very aggressive in order to get this through.

What did you like about SunMed that made you want to take them on?

SunMed is a small grower and didn’t have any cannabis cultivation experience.

Being a family-operated firm, we felt that the closeness was there and we could really work together. It wasn’t a big corporation coming in. It was a local Marylander. We were contacted by many of the other major companies from other states, but we are a boutique firm and we wanted to stay within our core.

That said, as of today, we are not representing SunMed, but we are still in discussions with them, and we hope to be finalizing something with them very quickly.

What did you like about Pharmacan?

We had represented the two main equity owners before and had fantastic experiences.

And (Brown’s) Pharmacan committed to providing funding for social programs and put that in their application. That was something we felt set them apart from many of the other dispensary applicants – that a percentage of their profits would go to local nonprofits within a 25-mile radius where the company would be dispensing for economic development.

Why were there so few African-American grow and processing license winners?

I think the commission should have done a lot more public outreach to diverse associations. Public awareness is key. And that breeds relationships, which turn into partnerships, which turn into investment opportunities. I think we could have done a better job on creating that public-awareness campaign. That way we would have probably had a lot more African-Americans apply or be a part of the groups.

But because the commission hasn’t released the application scores, no one really knows how many African-Americans or disadvantaged business owners applied or were among the applicants. Once we get that information released and that transparency, we can come back and address what we should have done or see what went well.

The Black Legislative Caucus has recommended postponing the program to fix this diversity problem, and some have suggested increasing the number of license winners. What do you think about these ideas?

I’m certainly not in favor of (delaying the process). These companies have invested a lot of capital. But I do think you can run a parallel track. Let the license winners continue to move forward with the application process and, in the meantime, there are certain things the Black Caucus can infuse in a new grower and processor application process. Applicants can be made to submit a local business economic development plan and to adhere to the Maryland 29% African-American enterprise goal.

If they were to include those things in the application process, you would see many more small businesses get opportunities.

The Black Caucus will do emergency legislation, and they do have the votes. They can stipulate that the Maryland commission either add another 10 or 15 licenses, and then unlimited processors. There are also counties that didn’t receive any grow licenses, and they may also support the legislation. It’s very fluid here, and it’s a long way from over.

What else can the commission do to help the program?

I think they need a very strong, positive, public relations campaign. Right now, the commission is always on the defensive, and that’s a mistake.

You’re also looking to get involved in Pennsylvania?

We’ve already been retained by Dr. Brown and are actively putting together the team in Pennsylvania. We’re going after grow, processor and dispensary licenses.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Omar Sacirbey can be reached at [email protected]

Greennwill’s very own Ivan Lanier recognized as a 2016 Top 100 MBE!

The Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council awarded Ivan Lanier, President and CEO, Greenwill Consulting Group, LLC as a 2016 Top 100 MBE.
The award recognizes owners of minority business enterprises in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia who have demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial accomplishments, a high level of professionalism, and have made substantial contributions to their community.
The Top 100 MBE Awards, created in 2007 and evolved through a need to recognize and celebrate the creativity and innovation of regional MBEs who are role models and inspire the entire community.





Greenwill’s very own Jeanette Ortiz named to The Daily Record’s 2016 VIP List

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             
June 22, 2016
CONTACT:  Haley Poling

PHONE:         443-524-8161

EMAIL:         [email protected]



Baltimore, Md., (Insert Date Sent) — The Daily Record has named Jeanette Ortiz, attorney and government relations associate, Greenwill Consulting Group LLC, to the 2016 VIP List — Very Important Professionals Successful by 40 awards.

The Daily Record created the VIP List in 2011 to recognize professionals 40 years of age and younger who have been successful in Maryland. Winners, chosen by previous VIP List honorees, are selected on the basis of professional accomplishments, community service and the impact of their achievements in the community. A listing of winners is below.

“This year’s VIP List honorees were selected for the significant contributions they are making to their professions and to improving their communities,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. “VIP List honorees are the ones to watch. They are the next generation of leaders across our state, and The Daily Record takes great pride in recognizing their achievements and looks forward to hearing about their even greater accomplishments in the future.”
The winners will be honored Aug. 25 at a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. at The Pier V Hotel, 711 Eastern Avenue in Baltimore. The winners will be profiled in a special section that will be inserted into the Aug. 26 issue of The Daily Record and available online at

“The 2016 VIP List honorees work tirelessly and excel in their careers, but they also use their influence and knowledge to create opportunities for others,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. “They are making a significant impact on their communities and on civic life that will benefit all of us across Maryland. The Daily Record is honored to recognize their achievements.”

Sponsors of The Daily Record’s 2016 VIP List include Chimes, presenting sponsor, and Epsilon Registration and VPC, Inc., table sponsors.

For more information about sponsorships and tickets for The Daily Record’s 2016 VIP List, visit

 About The Daily Record

 For more than 127 years, The Daily Record has provided trusted legal, business and government information to Maryland readers. In addition to the daily newspaper published five days a week, The Daily Record publishes its website,; five blogs – Business Buzz, Eye on Annapolis, Generation J.D., Ground Up and On the Record; six e-newsletters – Insider, Annapolis Insider, Auction Notices, Maryland Family Law Update,  Legal Jobs and Path to Excellence; its Path to Excellence – A Women’s Guide to Business magazine nine times a year; and a variety of special publications on topics of interest to Maryland business and legal professionals.                     

The Daily Record also honors leading Marylanders through eight annual awards events:  Maryland’s Top 100 Women, Influential Marylanders, 20 in Their Twenties, VIP List, Most Admired CEOs, Innovator of the Year, Leadership in Law and Leading Women.

2016 VIP List Winners

Roselyn Aker-Black, Psy.D., clinical psychologist, Dr. Roz Therapeutic and Coaching Services

Heather Welch Arbogast, associate, McGuireWoods LLP

Andrew Attman, vice president, Acme Paper & Supply

Juan Barbaran, multicultural business ambassador, Paychex

Stephanie Baron, principal, Miles & Stockbridge P.C.

Burke Bowers, commercial branch manager, M&T Bank

Calvin  J. Bowman, chairman and senior policy advisor, Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management

Jorge Eduardo Castillo, chairman, Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Dale Cathell, partner, DLA Piper

John Comberiate, financial advisor, Edward Jones

Jill Crank, assistant medical director at Mount Vernon, Chase Brexton Health Care

Dionne Curbeam, director, instructional technology & training, Coppin State University

Alyce Dailey, managing partner, The Dailey Group, Keller Williams Gateway

S. Dallas Dance, superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools

Joanna L. Diamond, vice president of external relations, Planned Parenthood of Maryland

Kelly Drnec, corporate sales manager, Days Inn Inner Harbor

Josiah Dykstra, cybersecurity researcher, Test Registration

Lanaea Featherstone, president/co-founder, William & Lanaea C. Featherstone Foundation

Seth Franz, founder and executive director, Volunteering Untapped

Amy Burke Friedman, president, Profiles, Inc.

Melissa E. Goldmeier, assistant county solicitor, Howard County Office of Law

Julian Haffner, attorney, McMillan Metro PC

Geoff Hengerer, deputy legal counsel, Office of the Governor of Maryland

Kenneth Paul “Kip” Hollar Jr., community relations coordinator, UPS-Chesapeake District

Alexandra Hughes, chief of staff, Office of Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch

Lisa Hall Johnson, associate justice, District Court of Prince George’s County

Ricardo R. Johnson, Esq., special assistant to the president & CEO, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Rena Kates, assistant state’s attorney, Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office

Caroline Kauffman-Kirschnick, general manager, EMR (Electric Motor Repair Company)

Kari M. Kelly, partner, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP

Laura Latta, director of early childhood initiatives, Family League of Baltimore

Dr. Jasmine Lydia Leigh, special assistant to the chief of staff, Social Security Administration

Catalina Rodriguez Lima, director, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs

Ivonne Lindley, principal, Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC

Dana Marlowe, principal partner, Accessibility Partners

Jeanette Ortiz, attorney and government relations associate, Greenwill Consulting Group LLC

Jason Plotkin, partner, Pinder Plotkin LLC

Indira K. Sharma, special counsel, Saul Ewing LLP

Harry T. Spikes II, deputy district director, Office of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

Dr. Erica Staaterman, vice president, Beneath the Waves

Thomas M. Weschler Jr., attorney, Haspel & McLeod

Matthew J. Youssef, attorney, Niles Barton & Wilmer LLP

Frederick County delegation to request $7.5M in state funds for hotel, conference center

Frederick County delegation to request $7.5M in state funds for hotel, conference center

By Bethany Rodgers [email protected] | Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 2:00 am

ANNAPOLIS — State lawmakers from Frederick County are throwing their weight behind a $7.5 million funding request for the downtown hotel and conference center project.

Although the project has represented a top priority for Frederick city officials, the current budget proposal by Gov. Larry Hogan doesn’t contain any state funding for it. However, Frederick County representatives on Friday said they maintained hope of securing state dollars and resolved to send the governor a letter appealing for his support.

Even state Sen. Michael Hough agreed to get behind the request, despite his past reservations about directing public funds toward the project.

“Obviously, I’ve been the skunk at the garden party on this project for the past couple of years,” he said.

However, Hough, R-District 4, said he could support appeals for state aid for public aspects of the project. Richard Griffin, the city’s director of economic development, said these public improvements could include parking space, road upgrades and utility infrastructure.

The city’s plan is to fund one-third of the hotel and conference center project with the state government funding, grants and local tax revenue generated by the project itself.

The city initially asked the state for $15 million across two years for the project. However, the county’s legislative delegation decided to focus on getting $7.5 million in this fiscal year. They can always return next year and push for the remaining funds, they said.

Griffin and other project supporters came to Annapolis on Friday to make an in-person petition to the county’s legislative delegation.

Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, pointed out that the 207-room hotel with 24,000 square feet of meeting space is anticipated to create an estimated 280 total jobs and $25.8 million in annual spending.

In response to questions about the size of the proposed facility, Griffin said he is confident that project planners are thinking on the proper scale.

“This is the right-sized facility for Frederick,” Griffin said. “It’s not an enormous facility.”

Griffin said moving the project forward in the absence of state funding would require additional negotiations with the project partners.

However, he was optimistic that the state would provide support for the facilities, especially since the county’s senators and delegates are all lending their help.

“We are very pleased to have gotten a unanimous vote of support from our delegation,” Griffin said.

Delegation tables charter school bill

Also at Friday’s meeting, members of the Frederick County delegation decided not to move forward with a bill that could grant more autonomy to charter schools in Frederick County.

Delegate Bill Folden, R-District 3B, attempted to rally his colleagues in support for the bill but was unable to win a majority of the delegation to his side.

Instead, the delegation indicated it wanted the County Council to weigh in on the proposal.

Among other things, the bill proposed by Tom Neumark, president of Frederick Classical Charter School, would allow the County Council to authorize new charter schools. The Frederick County Board of Education is the only local body that now has this authorization ability, Neumark said.

Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4, the delegation chairwoman, said members of Hogan’s administration had asked her to hold off on the local charter bill because the governor is planning to advance his own charter school agenda.

Leaders discuss I-270 corridor strategy

Leaders discuss I-270 corridor strategy

By Kelsi Loos News-Post Staff [email protected] | Posted: Friday, December 19, 2014 2:00 am

Representatives of Frederick and Montgomery counties will intensify discussion about improvements to the I-270 corridor.

Rep. John Delaney invited state, county and business leaders to a roundtable Thursday in Frederick to discuss traffic issues and share possible solutions.

Delaney, D-6th, left saying he would draw up a summary of the views the officials held in common to guide the way forward as different levels of government tackle the problem.

Delegate-elect Carol Krimm, D-District 3A, suggested an I-270 work group should meet during the legislative session.

Everyone in attendance appeared to agree that traffic on the I-270 corridor is a serious problem that affects quality of life and economic development.

“Transportation is an area where we find common ground among everyone,” Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said.

Not only do residents need to have a reasonable commute, Gardner said, but businesses, particularly the science and technology companies in Frederick, must have access to the Washington area to operate.

Members of the Frederick County, Montgomery County and Gaithersburg chambers of commerce attested that local businesses see congestion as bad for business on the I-270 corridor.

Delegate-elect Karen Young, D-District 3A, said regional transportation authorities have a plan to expand I-270 by 2030, but funding limitations have made it hard to make improvements sooner.

She advocated a “holistic approach” to the congestion problem that would take into account transportation, land-use and environmental goals.

The group agreed that funding I-270 corridor improvements will be a challenge requiring creative solutions.

Delaney will try to pass a tax bill this session that would allow companies to pay a lower overseas tax rate if they buy infrastructure bonds to fund a transportation bank.

Gardner noted Frederick County has been making the I-270 improvements more manageable financially by breaking the work into smaller projects.

Sen.-elect Michael Hough, R-District 4, looked to Virginia’s use of private investment and high-occupancy lanes as a model that might be used in Frederick.

“You have to be careful with public-private partnerships,” Delaney cautioned, saying that sometimes local governments don’t get the best deals out of those agreements.

Bringing different pots of money together, including private investment, however, is the best solution, he said.

Sen. Ron Young, D-District 3, advocated setting aside separate streams of funding for transit and roads as a way to help make sure both needs are addressed.

“We need to plan our growth differently,” he said, adding that it would help to have high-occupancy lanes and buses, as well as policies that make it easier for people to work from home.

Delegate Kelly Schulz, R-District 4A, who was recently tapped as the state’s secretary of labor, licensing and regulation, wondered how leaders could help improve transit options for people outside urban areas.

If planners can get transit to rural areas, she said, “I guarantee you that traffic will decrease.”

Krimm told the leaders about Bus on Shoulders, a program she has long advocated that would allow buses to travel on the road shoulder at certain choke points on I-270, making transit more dependable and therefore more desirable.

Some states that use the program have seen 400 percent bus ridership increases, she said.

Delegation says they will work together in 2015 General Assembly

Delegation says they will work together in 2015 General Assembly

By Ed Waters Jr. News-Post Staff | Posted: Saturday, December 6, 2014 2:00 am

With a new governor about to take the helm, members of the Frederick County delegation are looking forward to challenges and opportunities in Annapolis. Six members of the delegation spoke Friday at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, hosted by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee.

“We are an eclectic mix,” Delegate Kathy Afzali said. “The election brought new blood to the Legislature.
We will have different ideas and opinions,” Afzali said, but like her fellow lawmakers, she said she would work together to make Frederick County and Maryland great places to live and work.
Afzali, Delegate Kelly Schulz and Sen. Ron Young are the only incumbents in the delegation. Carol Krimm, David Vogt and Karen Young are delegates-elect. Delegate-elect Bill Folden was unable to attend the event.
One major issue was the proposed hotel-conference center for downtown Frederick. Krimm and Karen Young, both former city aldermen, support the project, as do the other members who spoke, but said they were unsure about public funds for the project.
Ron Young, who has advocated a downtown hotel and center since he was mayor in the 1970s, said he still has not seen a plan that specifically shows how much would be asked from public versus private funding.
Taxes were a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign, delegates said, but they had differing views on the subject. Schulz said raising taxes has proved not to be a good source of revenue.
“Our job as a legislator is to find ways to raise revenue,” Vogt said. “If we can’t find that, then we should be kicked out. We have to create jobs.”
Karen Young said affordability is more of an issue, noting that wages have not risen in balance with an increase in productivity.
“Government doesn’t create jobs, you do. … I voted for the gas tax to help fix roads,” Ron Young told the chamber audience.
The state shouldn’t cut back on things that make the state strong, he said.
Those strengths include a quality education system and good workforce, delegates said.
Several delegates said Maryland has been seen as not being business-friendly. “A lot of legislators claim to be pro-business, but the proof is in the action,” Afzali said.
With a new governor and more pro-business members of the General Assembly, she said, there is hope things will improve.
Ron Young countered that Maryland is competitive with Virginia, but he said the state does need to look at regulations.
“Our (state) economic development department has been running around looking for new corporations,” he said. “We need to support the ones we have to expand, that’s where the jobs will come from.”
Vogt said Frederick County is “almost a small Maryland,” with its mix of agriculture and communities. Opportunities exist for agreement on many issues, he said, and this delegation could be a role model for the rest of the state.
“Too many times government forgets to listen to you,” Vogt said. “We will listen to you and fight for you.”
“We are in the period of a honeymoon,” Krimm said. “All of those people who voted for us are waiting to see how we vote for the first time.”
Krimm said she hoped more people would be interested in following what goes on in Annapolis.
Ron Young said people unfairly compare Maryland’s General Assembly with Congress; state lawmakers do work together, he said.
Young said the stormwater management fee (sometimes called the “rain tax” by those who oppose it) can be discussed and counties can work out their mandated share of the cost, “but we must protect the (Chesapeake) Bay.”
Robert Smariga, an insurance representative who is active with the chamber in political issues, said people shouldn’t see the recent election as a mandate for the GOP.
“I’m glad to see Hogan win, but it isn’t a mandate,” he said. “And we will have to see what happens with (County Executive) Jan Gardner. She was for the incinerator and now against it, is it the old Jan or a new Jan?”
“You couldn’t ask for a more bipartisan leadership,” said Michael Kurtianyk, president of the Frederick County Association of Realtors, of the delegation. “I’m looking forward to them keeping their word about working together.”
Tom Lynch, a lawyer who is on the chamber’s policy committee, said the delegation’s bipartisanship will be a benefit. “They can influence

Pepco shareholders approve $6.8 billion acquisition by nuclear power giant Exelon

Pepco shareholders approve $6.8 billion acquisition by nuclear power giant Exelon

September 23 at 5:37 PM

Pepco Holdings shareholders have approved the sale of the company to Chicago-based Exelon, clearing another hurdle that will create the dominant power provider in the Mid-Atlantic.Washington-based Pepco, which began as a streetcar company in the late 19th century, made the announcement Tuesday.

“We are very pleased with today’s vote because we feel this transaction is in the best interests of our customers, our communities, our stockholders and our employees,” Pepco Holdings chairman Joseph M. Rigby said in a statement.

The two companies announced April 30 that nuclear energy giant Exelon would be acquiring Pepco in an all-cash transaction valued at $6.8 billion, which is a 24.7 percent premium above the Pepco share price on April 25.

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors at both companies, but it still faces scrutiny from regulators in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

The merger must also be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The companies hope to close the transaction in the second or third quarter of 2015.

Exelon is acquiring a gas and electric transmission company that is one-fifth its size. Pepco, having sold its power plants several years ago, no longer generates its own electricity and instead buys it from others.

Pepco has more than 2 million customers in an arc stretching from Washington and its Maryland suburbs east to the Delaware shore and north to New Jersey.

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