Maryland Cannabis Laws
An overview of the medical and recreational marijuana laws in Maryland.
Who can purchase cannabis in Maryland and what are the limits?
Recreational cannabis is now legal in Maryland, and dispensaries will be able to start selling adult-use cannabis on July 1, 2023.
Adults who are 21 years old and above can legally purchase marijuana from licensed dispensaries without needing a medical card. According to the new law, adults over 21 can possess up to 750 mg of THC at one time, regardless of the different forms of cannabis products.
Additionally, each legal consumer can have up to 1.5 ounces of flower or 12 grams of concentrated cannabis on hand at any given time. Possessing between 1.5 ounces and 2.5 ounces of cannabis can result in a civil fine, while possessing more than 2.5 ounces may lead to criminal charges.
What are the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients in Maryland?
Medical marijuana can be prescribed to patients who have been diagnosed with the following conditions:
- 1. Chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in severe pain, nausea, seizures, or muscle spasms.
- 2. Glaucoma or chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in severe muscle spasms.
- 3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- 4. Any condition that is severe and resistant to conventional medical treatment.
Registered medical marijuana patients in Maryland can possess up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis, which is determined by the recommending physician. The possession limit may vary depending on the patient's needs.
Is home cultivation of cannabis allowed in Maryland?
If you own your home, you can grow your own marijuana according to the rules set by the state. However, it's important to note that landlords can prohibit tenants from growing cannabis plants, so renters should consult their lease and obtain permission from the landlord before cultivating marijuana. Individuals who are 21 years old or older can cultivate up to two cannabis plants at home, as long as the plants remain out of public view. This limit applies to each household, meaning that a home with two or more adults.
Where can cannabis be consumed in Maryland?
Smoking or vaping marijuana in public is not allowed in Maryland. Regulators have specified several public places where smoking marijuana is prohibited, including parks, sidewalks, streets, bars, restaurants, public transportation, and places of employment. It is also illegal to smoke or consume cannabis inside a privately owned motor vehicle.
Additionally, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and should not be used on federal property, including national parks. Smoking would not be permitted indoors at on-site consumption facilities, but people could do so on outdoor patios at licensed facilities, or they can consume cannabis in the privacy of their homes.
Retail Cannabis Business Licensing in Maryland
Everything you need to know about opening a retail cannabis location in Maryland.
What state agency is in charge of cannabis licensing in Maryland?
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) was the state agency responsible for regulating and licensing medical cannabis businesses in Maryland. They oversee the application process and monitor the operations of licensed businesses. However, with the legalization of recreational cannabis, the newly established Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) will administer all licensing, registration, inspection, and testing measures for the State's cannabis industry.
Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission staff will transition to the new agency to provide continuity of operations for businesses and patients in the medical program, and new regulations governing health, safety, and security will be supplemental to the existing medical cannabis program regulations.
Who can apply for a Marijuana business license in Maryland?
>Qualified individuals and entities can apply for a cannabis business license in Maryland. The specific requirements and eligibility criteria vary depending on the type of license being sought, such as cultivation, processing, or dispensary licenses.
Existing medical cannabis retailers in Maryland can pay a fee to upgrade their licenses, allowing them to sell recreational cannabis in time for the July 1 launch. Conversion fees for existing licensees will range from $100,000 to $2,500,000 depending on gross revenue for 2022.
The first new licenses in Maryland's cannabis industry will be reserved for social equity applicants who meet certain criteria, such as having at least 65% ownership by an individual who lived in a disproportionately impacted area for five of the last 10 years or attended a public school in such an area.
How many new dispensary licenses are available?
The legislation prevents the Division from granting more licenses than the specified amounts, which include converted medical licensees. These limits are set at 75 licenses for growers, 100 licenses for processors, and 300 licenses for dispensaries.
The On-Site Consumption Licenses permit the holder to run a facility where people can engage in smoking, vaping, or consuming cannabis. A total of 50 licenses will be accessible for this purpose.
What is the process for obtaining a new recreational cannabis retail license in Maryland?
The legislation establishes three separate rounds of licensing. Before the first application round, the new Maryland Cannabis Administration will conduct extensive outreach and education on the licensing process and cannabis industry. A mix of in-person and virtual events will provide interested individuals and businesses with information on how to apply and application requirements and connect potential applicants with industry experts to learn more about the cannabis industry.
The Maryland Cannabis Administration will have the responsibility of granting new licenses by January 1, 2024, during the initial licensing round. The second licensing round will commence on or after May 1, 2024, to allocate the remaining licenses.
The First Round of Licenses will only be available to Social Equity Applicants.
What costs are associated with applying for an adult-use cannabis retail license in Maryland?
The legislation establishes the application fees for new licenses at $1,000 for micro-level applicants and $5,000 for incubator space, on-site consumption, and standard licenses (non-micro growers, processors, and dispensaries) in Maryland. The Division will determine the fees for license renewal, ensuring that they do not exceed 10% of the licensee's annual gross revenue.
Existing medical licensees who wish to convert to adult-use licenses will be subject to a one-time conversion fee of 8% based on their gross revenue in 2022. For dispensaries, the fee will range from a minimum of $100,000 for gross revenue below $1,000,000 in 2022, to a maximum of $2,000,000 if the gross revenue in the prior year surpassed $20,000,000.
Maryland Cannabis Retail and Dispensary Establishment Laws
Learn how to remain compliant with Maryland’s cannabis dispensary retail laws.
Where can a cannabis dispensary or retail establishment be located?
New dispensaries in Maryland cannot be located within 500 feet of certain places such as schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds, recreational centers, libraries, or public parks. Dispensaries must also be separated from each other by at least 1,000 feet. Further location restrictions or guidelines may be outlined in Maryland's cannabis laws and regulations.
To whom can Maryland marijuana retailers sell?
Licensed adult-use cannabis retailers in Maryland may sell cannabis to adults aged 21 and older, with a valid government-issued identification card, and employees are required to check purchasers’ IDs before making the sale.
What products can a Maryland cannabis dispensary sell?
Maryland marijuana retailers can sell a variety of cannabis products that are authorized under state law. The specific product offerings may include cannabis flower, concentrated cannabis, and other cannabis products that comply with the regulations set by the Maryland Cannabis Administration.
Cannabis-derived products such as edibles, THC vapes, and oils will also be legal to purchase in Maryland, following the same regulations as the purchase of cannabis flower. Starting from July 1, these products will be available for sale, but they will need to meet the state's testing standards to ensure they are free from any additives that could be harmful to consumers. It is worth noting that licensed dispensaries will test THC-containing vape cartridges to ensure they do not contain additives such as vitamin-e-acetate, which has been linked to lung injuries in the past.
Can medical marijuana and recreational cannabis be sold in the same dispensary?
Yes, cannabis stores can not operate as medical marijuana dispensaries or primary caregivers at the same location as the adult-use marijuana store.
However, it is up to the individual dispensaries to decide whether they want to convert their license to sell to adult-use or continue operating solely as medical dispensaries.
What taxes are collected on retail cannabis in Maryland?
At the point of sale, a 9% sales tax is imposed on recreational cannabis. There are no taxes on medical marijuana.
Are delivery and online sales for recreational cannabis products allowed?
Yes, delivery and online sales are permitted. Dispensaries can also have a cannabis e-commerce store, but their website must be age-gated.
Businesses can also apply for a micro-dispensary license, which would enable them to run a delivery service without having a physical storefront. The first of these licenses is set to be awarded by January 1, 2024. Once the micro-dispensaries are operational, consumers will be able to order marijuana for delivery, provided they follow all the rules and regulations surrounding the purchase and consumption of the drug. Such dispensaries cannot employ more than ten people.
What are the packing and labeling requirements for a cannabis retail store in Maryland?
The specific packaging and labeling requirements for a cannabis retail store in Maryland are determined by the Maryland Cannabis Administration. These requirements typically include guidelines for child-resistant packaging, product labeling, and other safety and informational aspects.
Dispensaries are allowed to repackage their products have their own branding on it, if they wish to.
What are the marketing and advertising restrictions in Maryland pertaining to cannabis sales?
Advertisements for cannabis must adhere to certain guidelines. They must not contain any false or misleading information, promote recreational cannabis use, target minors, depict the consumption of cannabis, encourage cannabis use for intoxication purposes, or be obscene. If an advertisement makes any therapeutic or medical claims, those claims must be backed by substantial clinical evidence and include information about significant side effects or risks associated with cannabis use. Maryland law allows advertising for cannabis on television and radio, but such advertisements are also subject to federal regulations.
Does Maryland use Metrc for cannabis compliance?
All marijuana growers, processors, and dispensaries must use Metrc in Maryland to track plants from seed to sale.
Maryland adult-use cannabis retailers must:
- Only sell a product to individuals aged 21 years or older after the product has been tested and bears the required retail label
- Enter all transactions, current inventory, and other required information into the statewide monitoring system through third-party inventory control and tracking system such as Cova POS
- Verify customers are 21 years of age or older through a government-issued photo ID
- Verify that the sale will not exceed the transaction limits
Cannabis Tracking and Reporting in Maryland
Every regulated cannabis market has its own tracking and reporting requirements. Find here how Maryland monitors commercial cannabis activity.
What are the tracking, reporting, and inventory control requirements for Maryland cannabis retailers?
Every cannabis licensee in Maryland is obligated by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (formerly MMCC) to participate in the statewide tracking program. While METRC is responsible for implementing the technical and operational aspects of the system, the administration oversees the overall program, including compliance and enforcement of Maryland's cannabis laws.
Once a license application has been submitted to the Maryland Cannabis Administration, prospective cannabis licensees in Maryland will need to successfully complete a knowledge-based test on the METRC system to obtain their license. Additionally, employees of growers, distributors, and dispensaries will have the opportunity to undergo training sessions and webinars to gain a comprehensive understanding of the program and its functionalities.
Is Cova compliant with Marylands’s cannabis dispensary reporting requirements?
Yes. Cova's Cannabis Dispensary POS Software and inventory management system includes all the features needed to keep cannabis retailers compliant, including:
- ID scanner for age and card verification
- Integrated inventory and sales tracking and reporting
- Built-in product equivalency conversions and purchase limit enforcement.
- Seamless 2-way integration with Metrc