Maryland Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS MARYLAND'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Content Below Last Updated by Point7 04/08/2022
On April 1, 2022, Maryland legislature approved House Bill 1 and House Bill 837. HB 1 will put the question of adult-use legalization to voters on the November 2022 ballot. HB 837 will allow residents of the state 21 and older to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis or cannabis products and cultivate up to two plants starting July 1, 2023. HB 837 also provides expungement processes, minority funding, community reinvestment, and a Community Repair Fund. Now, the legislation heads to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, where he will potentially sign it into law. If the Governor decides to veto the legislation, there is sufficient vote margins in both the House and Senate to override any potential veto. When passed, possession of cannabis and cultivation within an individual's residence will not become legal until July 2023.
WHAT ARE MARYLAND'S CANNABIS LAWS?
Passed through legislation in 2013, Maryland's medical cannabis program allows physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, podiatrists, and nurse midwives the authority to recommend medical cannabis to patients. With their recommendation, patients may register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to access medical cannabis as medicine. Patients are allowed to possess up to 120 grams or more with a physician's recommendation for a higher quantity, although medical patients are prohibited to grow cannabis plants in their home. Maryland’s medical cannabis program currently operates under the laws found here.
Most recently, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill and moved to senate vote on broadening decriminalization efforts. If passed, the bill will make the possession of up to a one ounce not punishable by jail time. Currently, the law states that possession of more than ten grams is punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Additionally, the new law would stipulate up to one ounce on a person’s possession could not be used to charge an individual with the intent to distribute.
In an effort to bring relief to those previously charged with marjiuana offenses, lawmakers approved HB 83 in the legislature adjourned for its 2020 session. Under this law, individuals with cannabis charges that consist only of possession are shielded from having their record publicized.
WHAT IS MARYLAND'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
Unfortunately, the application window for medical cannabis business licenses has closed in Maryland. The last licensing round in 2019 gave opportunities for 14 new cultivation and processing facilities, of which 160 applicants applied. The high volume of applicants proves Maryland’s residents are eager to expand the cannabis market and indicates Maryland will remain a major contender in the cannabis market as legalization progresses.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN MARYLAND?
Maryland had a slow start to its medical cannabis program after legalization occurred in 2013. Five years later in 2019, medical cannabis business operations and sales began. When the licensing process was initiated in 2016, conflict and lawsuits arose stating that the facilities were awarded because of political ties rather than fair rankings. At the time, the state reviewed over 150 grower and 124 processing applications and awarded 15 licenses to each category.
The MMCC was formed to develop policies, procedures, and regulations to create effective programs that protect and ensure medical cannabis is safely and readily available to qualifying patients.
In the early years of the medical cannabis program, only 1% of the state's physicians were registered to participate in the medical cannabis program.
Recreational legalization efforts continue in Maryland despite past struggles to pass legislation. In 2017, multiple Democrat Delegates introduced a state bill that would allow adults 21 years of age and older the ability to purchase and possess legal cannabis, and grow up to six plants per person. Although the legislation didn’t pass, momentum continued in 2019 when the General Assembly created a task force dedicated to the issue titled the Marijuana Legalization Workgroup. The task force is dedicated to finding the best possible routes to provide legal cannabis access throughout the state. The task force continues to work towards legalization and is on track for serious consideration in 2022. Recently, the House approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis to be put onto the November 2022 ballot. If the voters approve, recreational cannabis for adults 21 and over would be legal July 1, 2023.
DOES MARYLAND HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
Maryland hemp business applications for the Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program are now open. Links to further resources are available on the state website.
PREPARING FOR THE MARYLAND CANNABIS MARKET
We are ready to support your team as you prepare for cannabis licensure in Maryland. Contact Point7 to discuss the fully customizable products and service packages available that have proved successful for operators around the country.