Cannabis Regulations in Maryland
In 2022, the Maryland General Assembly passed a legalization implementation bill in response to the voter’s approval of adult-use legalization (Question 4). House Bill 556 and Senate Bill 516 develop a framework for Adult-Use Sales to begin on July 1, 2023.
HB556/SB516 authorizes Marylander’s over 21 years old to purchase cannabis products legally from a licensed dispensary. Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will be able to sell to adult consumers on July 1, 2023 if they convert their license. The legislation also authorizes the Maryland Cannabis Administration to issue additional grower, processor, and dispensary licenses, and new incubator licenses over two licensing rounds.
HB 556 and SB 516 establish the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) to regulate cannabis businesses in the State. Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will transition to the MCA. New regulations governing health, safety and security will be supplemental to the existing medical cannabis program regulations. The new law does not directly impact the medical cannabis program. Patients may continue to obtain medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries. The new law establishes patient-only operating hours, product availability, and accommodations to ensure that patients are able to access medication.
Timeline for Maryland’s Adult-use Cannabis Licensing Process
The first application round is scheduled for the fall of 2023. The second round will be in 2024. Prior round one, the new Maryland Cannabis Administration plans to conduct outreach and education events for interested individuals.
July 1, 2023 — Existing Maryland medical cannabis businesses who chose to convert will be authorized to cultivate, manufacture, or dispense cannabis or cannabis products for consumers 21 years of age or older.
July-August 2023 — The new Medical Cannabis Administration (MCA), in partnership with the new Office of Social Equity, will conduct outreach, training and guidance on the cannabis license application process.
September 2023 — 30-day application period for individuals and businesses interested in applying for a standard or micro cannabis license in Round 1. MCA may the following number of licenses in Round 1:
Standard licenses: 20 grower licenses, 40 processor licenses, 80 dispensary licenses
Micro licenses: 30 grower licenses, 30 processor licenses, 10 dispensary licenses
Ten incubator space licenses
October-November 2023 — MCA reviews application submission. MCA conducts a lottery for Round 1 applicants and begins to select applicants.
January 1, 2024 — MCA notifies selected Round 1 applicants of award.
May 2024 — MCA announces Round 2 for standard and micro cannabis licenses, including on-site consumption licenses.