Lance Lucas Pleads Guilty to Medicinal Cannabis License Bribes

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On Monday, Lance Lucas, the former president of Maryland’s Black Chamber of Commerce and the head of a nonprofit promoting digital literacy, pleaded guilty to paying disgraced Delegate Cheryl Glenn $42,500 in bribes relating to, among other things, medicinal cannabis licenses. 

This comes after Glenn, who was the former chair of the Black Legislative Caucus and an advocate for black cannabis growers and processors, pleaded guilty in January to taking $33,750 in bribes. 

Lucas’ bribes were not part of Glenn’s original plea. According to Lucas’ plea agreement, a bill in 2018 that provided $2.5 million to Cyber Warrior Diversity Program, which offered training to those interested in cybersecurity jobs, was passed by Glenn. Then over the next year (from May 2018-July 2019), Lucas paid off Glenn 11 separate times to revise the bill and also promise to help two companies (who have not been named) get medicinal cannabis licenses. 

The agreement includes descriptions of Glenn and Lucas meeting in Baltimore and Annapolis over the next year or so—and often in Lucas’ Porsche—where he handed her envelopes of cash. 

“I’m from Baltimore for real, for real,” Lucas told Glenn at one point. “This is the least illegal thing I’ve ever done.”

The majority of Lucas’ payments to Glenn were provided after the F.B.I. already approached Glenn about her corruption. Lucas’ discussions with Glenn were recorded, something Lucas’ lawyer, Jerry Tarud, confirmed to Jayne Miller, the investigative reporter for Baltimore’s NBC affiliate, outside of the Edward A. Garmatz United States District Courthouse yesterday afternoon. 

At the end of August 2018, according to Lucas’ plea agreement, Glenn set up a meeting between Lucas, people involved in “Company 2,” and chair of the MMCC who is not named but would have been Brian Lopez, who remains the MMCC’s chair. There is no indication Lopez was aware of Glenn’s scheme or did anything wrong. After the meeting, Glenn asked Lucas for money. 

“The meeting was great!!!,” Glenn texted Lucas. “I’m fundraising again. Campaign account is at zero because of the challenging Primary. Need to talk to you re help needed.” 

On September 19, 2018, Glenn reached out to Lucas and the two met in Baltimore’s Little Italy neighborhood and Lucas gave Glenn $1,000 in cash which she did not put into her campaign account. Payments continued over the next few months—$1,500 in October and another $1,500 in February 2019.

On March 4, 2019, Glenn met Lucas in Annapolis and the two spoke in Lucas’ Porsche. He gave her more money regarding the Cyber Warrior Diversity Program bill and asked for her to help who the agreement refers to “Company 3,” get a medicinal cannabis license and work around the “double blind” process set-up by the MMCC to make the application process harder to influence. He told Glenn the people he was advocating for had billions of dollars. Lucas also said he could give Glenn as much as $80,000 if she could help out “Company 3.”

“How much would it take if it was twenty, if it was twenty, if it was fifty, if it was eighty,” Lucas said. “I wanted to make sure that I partner with you of course, on the low.”

As payments continued, Glenn told Lucas that she had “a guy on the inside of the Commission,” who could help “Company 3” out. This prosecutors say was a lie—Glenn did not have anybody “on the inside” of the MMCC. 

Glenn also told Lucas she was nervous about what they were doing. Lucas told her there wasn’t anything to worry about: “This is like patty-cake compared to the shit in Baltimore City,” he said.

Over the next few months, Glenn continued taking money—again, in total $42,500—and even told Lucas during the time when licenses were delayed that Lucas’ “Company 3” would get one when the licenses were given out. “Company 2” and “Company 3” have not been named.

Lucas, who is charged with wire fraud and violating the Travel Act could receive up to 20 years in prison. He is set to be sentenced on June 10.

You can read Lucas’ plea agreement below.

Screencap of Lance Lucas speaking in 2013 at TEDxBaltimore.

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