Maryland Marijuana Business Licenses

Medical Marijuana in Maryland

The State of Maryland has been a key advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana. In 2003, the Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act created an affirmative defense for medical cannabis patients if they were charged with possession of less than one ounce – carrying a maximum fine of $100.00. This protection was extended to caregivers in 2013 with the passage of House Bill 180.

By 2011, Senate Bill 308 authorized patients to use medical cannabis so long as they demonstrated a severe and debilitating condition pursuant to the law. In 2013, the passage of House Bill 1101 allowed medical and academic centers to conduct research on medical marijuana. Furthermore, this bill established the Natalie M. LaParade Medical Marijuana Commission (“MMCC”), which was granted the responsibility to develop regulations for medical marijuana cultivation, research, and use.

On April 14, 2014, Governor O’Malley signed Senate Bill 923 into law, which established a legal, all-inclusive medical marijuana program. By 2017, Maryland’s medical marijuana program became fully operational as the sixteen-member MMCC implemented a framework for licensing, registration, testing, and other matters relating to the State’s medical marijuana program.

Once the Medical Marijuana law took effect, physicians and other approved health professionals began registering with the state so they could start helping patients with qualifying medical conditions. Maryland, unlike many other states, decided to allow registered dentists, podiatrists, and nurse practitioners—as well as MDs—to diagnose patients and prescribe medical marijuana. See House Bill 104 (2016).

By 2019, the State of Maryland had granted eighteen (18) grower licenses and eighty-five (85) dispensary licenses. Though Maryland patients were more than ready to purchase, they had to wait another five (5) years for state dispensaries to open their doors.

Recreational Marijuana Use in Maryland

On July 16, 2021, Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones announced that a referendum would decide whether to legalize an adult-use market in the state. At that time, medical marijuana usage was exponentially growing as the MMCC reported that nearly 150,000 patients were registered with the state, with a projection of bringing in $600 Million in retail sales for 2021.

On January 12, 2022, Maryland’s House of Representatives introduced a measure to be placed on the 2022 General Election ballot that addresses the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana. House Bill 1 formally set forth a constitutional amendment to ask voters as to whether “[they] favor the legalization of adult-use, recreational cannabis in Maryland?”

In November 2022, Maryland voters approved of the referendum. During the 2023 legislative session, legislation was introduced to not only legalize cannabis and cannabis products for adults twenty-one (21) years and older, but also implementing a framework for the cultivation, processing, dispensing, and transportation of cannabis and cannabis products. In May 2023, Governor Wes Moore signed such legislation into law making Maryland the 20th state to legalize cannabis within its jurisdiction.


 Convert Medical License to Recreational License  July 1, 2023
 Verify Social Equity Status  September 8 – November 7, 2023
 Round #1 of Applications (30-Day Window)  November 13 – December 12, 2023
 Issue First Round of Licenses (Social Equity Only)  On/before January 1, 2024
 Accept Applications for Equity Grants  January 15 – Feb. 15, 2024
 Issue Second Round of Licenses  On/after May 1, 2024

Social Equity Applicant

65% ownership and control of the applicant must be attributable to one (1) or more persons that meet one (1) of the following criteria:

Applications for Adult-Use Marijuana Business Licenses

On March 14, 2024, the MCA announced the winners of the first social equity licensing round. Starting May 2024, the MCA has the authority to conduct a second lottery licensing round. The MCA is mandated to provide a sixty (60)-day notification prior to conducting its second application round for social equity applicants. As the MCA is currently reviewing the number of licenses available for the next upcoming round to ensure market stability, we expect the next round to be held in Q3/Q4 of 2024.

The application fee for a Standard Business License is set at five thousand dollars ($5,000), whereas a Micro-Business License application fee will cost the applicant one thousand dollars ($1,000).

With the application window fast approaching, now is the time to work with a Team of experts to ensure your spot in Maryland’s booming cannabis industry. Contact us today to discuss your options!

Last Updated: May 31st, 2024

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