The Maryland state senate approved access to medical cannabis through Senate Bill 923 in 2014. However, adult recreational legalization is still pending and is expected to pass and come into effect by 2023.
Through the end of 2021, marijuana sales in Maryland reached a total of about $400M. The cannabis program in Maryland attracts potential business owners because of its strategic location in the North East, nestled between several densely populated metropolitan areas.
In this blog, we will walk through the cannabis laws in Maryland, license types and how to acquire them, tax rates, and much more:
Can I Open A Dispensary In Maryland Right Now?
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) is currently not accepting dispensary license applications.
According to the MMCC website, they have already issued pre-approvals for cultivation, processing, and dispensary licenses. There are two stages of license approval and the pre-awardees are currently working through stage two of the approval process. The second stage includes undergoing background verification, completing regulatory requirements, getting local zoning approvals, and also constructing the facilities. The final voting on licenses will happen during public meetings on a rolling basis, as pre-awardees complete their regulatory requirements.
Where Can You Legally Buy Recreational Cannabis?
At the moment. Nowhere.
Nevertheless, if everything goes as planned, dispensaries should start operating on July 1, 2023.
How Much Can You Buy?
Qualifying patients can possess 120 grams of usable cannabis (primarily dried flower) or 36 grams of THC as a 30-day supply. And you will be able to home-grow cannabis if House Bill 1 and 837 come to pass in the November 2022 ballot.
Current Cannabis Laws In Maryland
- Patients with qualifying medical conditions. As of now, adult-use cannabis is illegal.
- An individual can apply for ownership or have an interest in up to four dispensaries.
- The first term of a dispensary license is six years, and subsequent renewals are four years.
- The MMCC can inspect dispensaries and penalize or revoke licenses if found non-compliant.
How Much Cannabis Can An Adult In Maryland Possess?
Patients can buy a 30-day supply of either 36 grams of THC or 120 grams of usable cannabis. The 30-day cycle works on a rolling basis rather than a monthly basis.
What’s On The November 2022 Ballot For Maryland?
If House Bills 1 and 837 come to pass in November 2022, expect the following changes:
House Bill 1 proposes an amendment to the Maryland constitution that would legalize adult use and possession of cannabis. Even if the referendum is passed in November 2022, this law will come into force on or after July 1, 2023.
House Bill 837, specifies the criteria under which marijuana is permitted for recreational use in Maryland. House Bill 837 includes the following:
- Legal residents who are 21 years and up can purchase and have up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana
- Decriminalizes the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
- Legal residents will be able to home-grow up to 2 plants.
- Gifting cannabis from one legal adult to another will be legal.
In accordance with House Bill 837, cannabis cultivation requires additional safety measures in addition to growing no more than two cannabis plants. Home growers cannot:
- Grow or place their cannabis plants in public view and away from minors.
- Seek permission from the landlord before growing cannabis plants
- Grow more than two cannabis plants in one house
Even if House Bill 1 and 837 are passed in November 2022, the sale of recreational cannabis, home cultivation of cannabis, decriminalizing possession of more than 2.5 ounces, and other laws will not come into effect before 2023.
Will You Have To Pay Sales Tax?
Yes. Taxes will be imposed on recreational cannabis. Revenues will be reinvested by the state to assist communities affected by the drug war and to public health research on cannabis.
Recreational Cannabis State Regulations
In November 2022, legislators in Maryland introduced the long-awaited measure defining how the state will structure its recreational cannabis market in the coming months.
Beginning on July 1, 2023, the 88-page bill authorizes state-licensed stores to sell recreational cannabis to customers who are 21 and older.
The legislation establishes guidelines for how marijuana would be grown, processed, and sold in Maryland. Additionally, it specifies the distribution of commercial licenses and establishes a fund to support minority-owned businesses.
What Else Does The Bill Include?
- According to the bill, the proposed sales tax on recreational marijuana will exceed 6%, but it may increase to 10% by 2028.
- Maryland legislation grants permit for 300 marijuana dispensaries, 100 processors, and 75 marijuana cultivators.
- Other “micro-licenses” are also created for smaller, more specialized businesses that follow different regulations.
- Additionally, the measure permits on-site consumption spaces, something that many other states do not allow. There will be 15 licenses issued for those facilities, allowing marijuana use in public places like cafes.
- The proposed legislation establishes an Office of Social Equity to promote and encourage full engagement in the regulated cannabis industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs in order to positively benefit those communities.
- In addition, the legislation establishes a Cannabis Business Assistance Fund, which will give loans to businesses trying to establish themselves. Decisions about who receives these loans will be made by the Office of Social Equality.
- Medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries may transition to selling recreational marijuana after paying a one-time conversion fee of between $100,000 and $2.5 million, depending on the company’s revenue.
Current Cannabis Market In Maryland
According to state regulators, Maryland medical cannabis sales reached about $600 million in 2021. It is estimated that cannabis sales can hit between $600 million-$725 million in 2022.
Types Of Cannabis Licenses In Maryland
Following are the types of medical cannabis licenses processed in Maryland:
- Can grow cannabis in a commercial facility.
Types Of License
- Grower license
- Annual license fee: $125,000;
- Application Fee: Stage 1 – $2,000, Stage 2: $4,000
- Grower and dispensary license
- Annual license fee: $165,000,
- Application Fee: Stage 1: $3,000; Stage 2: $8,000
- Licensed to sell cannabis for medical use to patients and caregivers.
- Annual License fee: $40,000
- Stage 1: $1,000; Stage 2: $4,000
- Licensed to create new products like concentrates, topicals, and edibles.
- Annual license fee: $40,000
- Stage 1: $2,000; Stage 2: $4,000
How To Get A License
Here’s what we know about how to open a dispensary in Maryland so far:
- Pay an application fee
- Submit the legal name and address of the dispensary
- Each principal director or officer’s name, residence, and birthdate for the dispensary
- The operating procedures the dispensary will follow for the storage and security of the medicinal cannabis
- A strategy for the dispensary’s enforcement of Maryland’s medical marijuana or medical cannabis laws.
Maryland Dispensary Fees
|Type of Fee||Amount|
|Stage 1 Application Fee||$1,000|
|Stage 2 Application Fee||$4,000|
|Licensing Fee (valid for 6 years, after renewal license valid for 4 years)||$80,000|
|Initial buildout fee and start-up expenditures||$500,000|
What Else Do You Need to Open a Dispensary in Maryland?
Understand Cannabis Laws In Maryland
Cannabis laws vary from state to state in the United States. Therefore, be sure you fully comprehend the rules and legislation before submitting an application for a marijuana license in Maryland. You’ll be able to maintain compliance and increase your likelihood of having your license authorized.
Create A Scalable Business Plan
Typically, the first step in transforming an idea into a real business is to create a plan of action. As you write, your thoughts begin to form a plan and a path forward becomes clearer. But business plans aren’t just for new companies; they may also be revised by established companies.
In any instance, written documentation can provide the required clarity to motivate employees, entice investors, or influence future decisions. Your business plan needs to take into account the following factors to guarantee funding and strategic growth:
Along with describing the factors that make you stand out from the competition, it is crucial to give a thorough analysis of your rivals.
The operations, finances, history, leadership, and distribution strategies of your direct and indirect competitors should be the main subjects of this analysis. It should analyze the value propositions of these rivals and discuss how you might compete with them.
Describe your sales strategy and, if applicable, the process you plan to use. Investors can learn about your experience by seeing your sales prowess, as sales are what sustain and generate revenue for your business. Sales are the fuel for a corporate journey.
You should give a detailed account of how you plan to market and sell your cannabis products, even if you are unsure of how things will turn out in terms of sales and marketing or which distribution channels will be the most lucrative.
This is due to the fact that preparation shows that you are thinking ahead and that you have faith in your abilities.
The success of any business depends on having a thorough marketing plan. Reviewing your marketing plan at least once a year is essential because your marketing strategies and methods will change year after year.
This is the section of the plan you should pay the most attention to. Based on your current financial condition and a map of where you will need money, this part will summarize your financial strategy and estimates.
The business strategy helps you establish your brand’s position in the cannabis industry. This portion will provide you the opportunity to succinctly introduce the business and its brand to customers, investors, and business partners. Utilizing the market, consumer, and competitive intelligence you get throughout the business planning phase, you may determine how to position your brand most effectively.
Choosing the best team for your Dispensary in Maryland
A successful team is the foundation of any business. Both new businesses and established companies benefit the most from it. A strong team allows an organization to scale, grow, and succeed in ways that would be hard for one person to accomplish alone.
The first step in creating a successful team is to hire the right people—those that value teamwork, are goal-oriented, and respect the hierarchical structure that most organizations demand.
Choose Your Location With Care
Cannabis sellers are no different from other retailers in that they are aware of how important location is to their success. Finding the ideal location is crucial, but you must also abide by the many rules and legislation imposed by the state and that particular municipality.
Like other states, some location requirements for Maryland include:
- Must not be near schools/daycares/churches.
- It can’t include an outdoor area.
Tech Integration with Leading Technology Partner
Every successful cannabis business is built on a solid security and IT infrastructure. As a result, you must contact Cure8 IT experts as soon as your license has been approved and you are ready to open your store. Your store can be completely designed and developed by us. From Wi-Fi to tablets, scanners, printers, security cameras, and more, we offer everything you need to complete your store’s IT infrastructure.
How Can Cure8 Help?
Cure8 is a one-stop tech solution provider that will transform your business for the better. We partner with your team to determine which IT services and solutions are best for your cannabis business. It includes IT consulting, managed IT services, and custom hardware and software solutions.
Check out more about our solutions here.