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On Friday, September 8, the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) Office of Social Equity released additional information for its upcoming initial licensing round, including the social equity verification portal, application timeframe and deadlines, and the number of licenses available per county. The first round of licensing is limited to Social Equity Applicants.
Social Equity Verification Portal
Potential applicants who previously submitted the Cannabis Business Licensing Interest Form were granted access to the Social Equity Verification Portal on September 8, 2023 (via email from email@example.com). Potential applicants who have not already submitted should request a link to the Social Equity Verification Portal from the MCA by completing this form: Cannabis Business Licensing Interest Form. Prospective applicants must self-verify as Social Equity Applicants before the application period starts.
The verification portal will remain open for 60 days, until November 7, 2023. Out-of-state residents can seek verification based on their residency, after which the MCA will send a follow-up communication. Further information about the Social Equity qualifications, including the qualifying geographic areas, public schools, and institutes for higher education, can be found on our website and our blog, Cannabis & the Law.
License Application Timeline
The timeline for the first licensing round is narrow.
- The MCA has signaled they will publish applications shortly (likely this week)
- The window to begin submitting applications opens on November 13, 2023
- The deadline to submit an application is December 12, 2023
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/region for which the application was submitted. The MCA will begin conducting the lottery on or before January 1, 2024.
Available Licenses for Round One
The MCA will release a limited number of each type of license in the first round. For dispensary licenses, each county will be limited in the number of available licenses. For all other license types, the number of available licenses will be limited by region.
Applicants can only submit two applications, and applicants cannot submit both applications for the same license type.
Standard Dispensary Licenses
Given the limited number of available licenses, applicants should carefully consider which county (and, therefore, which lottery) for which they want to apply.
For the remaining license types (below), Maryland 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.
Standard Grower and Processor Licenses
- 16 grower (4 per region)
- 32 processor (8 per region)
All Micro Licenses
- 24 grower (6 per region)
- 24 processor (6 per region)
- 8 dispensary (2 per region)