Pictured: Dan Morhaim speaks during a news conference in support of legislation that would make Maryland the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana at the House Office Building on January 24, 2011 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Kris Connor, Getty Images)

Lawmaker scrutinized over Maryland medical marijuana ties removed from key panel

A state lawmaker who came under scrutiny for his ties to a Maryland medical marijuana business while working on legislation shaping the industry has been removed from the health committee that oversees such bills.

Del. Dan Morhaim, D-Baltimore County, a physician, will serve on the judiciary committee in the 90-day legislative session starting Wednesday, following 13 years on the Health and Government Operations Committee.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, announced the change Monday when he released committee assignments.

Morhaim faced a probe from the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics after The Washington Post and other outlets revealed he was consulting a prospective medical marijuana dispensary.

He maintains he followed all applicable disclosure rules and ethics laws. Among other things, he listed on state ethics forms that he might do cannabis consulting, and he received clearance from the General Assembly’s ethics adviser permission to sponsor a bill affecting the industry.

Busch’s chief of staff didn’t immediately explain the reasoning for Morhaim’s committee change.

In an email, Morhaim said he was looking forward to using his new assignment to work on “a number of important issues, including juvenile justice reform, drug law reform and harm reduction, rape kit testing policy, update of last year’s Justice Reinvestment Act, and any changes to tort and punitive damages law.”