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LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. – The Maryland Cannabis Administration announced that the first application round for cannabis business licenses will open on November 13. The Administration also announced the number of licenses, by license type, that will be available in the first application round.
“Today’s announcement is another step forward in fulfilling Maryland’s commitment to building an equitable and inclusive cannabis industry,” said Maryland Cannabis Administration Acting Director Will Tilburg. “This application round will more than double the number of cannabis businesses in the State, and each award will be to a verified social equity applicant.”
More than 175 standard and micro cannabis grower, processor, and dispensary licenses available in the first round will be exclusive to social equity applicants. A social equity applicant is an applicant that has at least 65% ownership and control held by one or more individuals who lived or went to public school in an area disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis, or attended a four-year institution of higher education in Maryland where at least 40% of enrollees were eligible for a Pell Grant.
Last week, the Office of Social Equity published the ZIP codes and public schools in Maryland that are within a disproportionately impacted area, and the qualifying four-year institutions of higher education. Detailed information on the qualifying geographic areas, public schools, and institutions of higher education may be found at ose.maryland.gov.
The application round will be open for a period of 30 days, from November 13 to December 12. Any applicant who meets the minimum requirements for licensure, on a pass-fail basis, will be placed in a randomized lottery based on license type (grower, processor, or dispensary) and county or region for which the application was submitted. Under the Cannabis Reform Act, the Administration will begin conducting the lottery on or before January 1, 2024.
The following number of licenses will be available by license type and geographic area in the first application round:
Table 1: Distribution of Standard Dispensary Licenses
Growers, Processors, and Micro Licenses:
For the remaining license types, the State will be divided into four regions, as follows:
- Western Region: Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Montgomery, and Washington.
- Southern Region: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s.
- Central Region: Baltimore, Baltimore City, Cecil, Harford, and Howard.
- Eastern Region: Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester.
Equal numbers of each of the remaining license types will be available, as outlined below.
Table 2. Distribution of Growers, Processors, and Micro Licenses
Additionally, the Administration announced the opening of the Social Equity Verification Portal. The portal instructs individuals on the social equity applicant eligibility requirements and allows them to confirm their eligibility as a social equity applicant before the application period opens on November 13. The portal will be open for a period of 60 days, closing on Tuesday, November 7.