Looking to start or operate a cannabis business in Maryland? With adult-use sales set to begin on July 1, 2023, it’s important to understand the new legislation and regulations. Here’s what you need to know about Maryland recreational marijuana laws and how they will impact your business. This. In this blog post we hope to guide you through the background of Maryland Recreational Marijuana (adult use cannabis).
Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization
Maryland has passed House Bill 556 and Senate Bill 516, allowing individuals aged 21 and above to purchase cannabis legally from a licensed dispensary. Existing medical establishments will be able to sell to adult customers starting July 1, if they choose to convert their license. The Maryland Cannabis Administration will regulate the expanded industry through new regulations governing health, safety and security that supplement the existing medical cannabis program regulations. Additionally, three separate rounds of licensing are scheduled for interested individuals wanting a cannabis license with extensive outreach carried out by the administration prior to each round in which potential applicants can learn more about the industry.
HB556/SB516: What it means and what it does
Maryland’s new adult-use cannabis law, HB556/SB516, differs from the current medical cannabis program by allowing individuals 21 and older to legally purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. Existing medical dispensaries can convert their licenses for adult sales on July 1st. The Maryland Cannabis Administration will regulate the expanded industry and issue additional grower, processor, dispensary and incubator licenses over two licensing rounds. Criminal justice reform remains at the forefront of this law as it establishes a process for expunging cases in which possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is the only charge along with other provisions that aim to promote social equity within the industry.
Buying and using cannabis products
Accepted Forms of Payment at Dispensaries:
When buying cannabis products at licensed dispensaries, customers can pay using cash or specific forms of debit and credit cards. However, some banks may not allow the use of their cards for cannabis purchases due to federal laws that still view marijuana as illegal.
Restrictions on Where Consumption is Allowed:
While it may be legal for adults over 21 years old to purchase and possess cannabis in Maryland, consumption is restricted in certain areas. It’s important to note that smoking or vaping in public places like parks, beaches, restaurants, cafes or other businesses open to the general public is prohibited.
Quality Control Regulations for Product Safety:
The newly established Maryland Cannabis Administration will regulate all businesses operating within the state’s cannabis industry including growers, processors and dispensaries. The agency will ensure quality control regulations are met during the production process which includes testing products for contaminants such as pesticides before they hit dispensary shelves. This means consumers can have confidence when purchasing from licensed establishments knowing their safety has been taken into consideration during every step of production.
Regulating the expanded cannabis industry
Regulating the expanded cannabis industry in Maryland includes several key requirements such as taxation rates for retail sales, ‘seed-to-sale’ tracking requirements for businesses, and opportunities for small business owners to thrive in this newly legalized market. The new law requires that all cannabis products sold are subject to a 9% sales tax (the same rate as alcohol). Individuals purchasing cannabis or related products must be at least 21 years of age and can only purchase up to the legal personal use amount allowed by law.
Businesses operating within Maryland’s recreational marijuana industry will need to comply with new ‘seed-to-sale’ tracking regulations aimed at ensuring compliance with state rules. Our cannabis lawyers have helped many other licensees and can help you too. These measures help ensure product safety while protecting businesses from harmful contamination issues. Additionally, existing medical dispensaries may convert their licenses starting July 1st if they choose to sell recreational-use products.
Maryland’s expansion of its adult-use cannabis industry is an exciting opportunity for small business owners looking to enter this emerging market. As license applications become available after July 1st, interested entrepreneurs should explore opportunities under this newly created licensing process which opens doors into the potentially lucrative world of marijuana-based entrepreneurship.
Impact on the medical cannabis program
Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will have the option to sell to adult consumers starting July 1, if they choose to convert their license. This presents an opportunity for these businesses to expand their customer base and increase revenue. However, there may be drawbacks in having both programs running simultaneously, such as potential product shortages or increased demand on resources. It is unclear if changes will be made to how patients access their medicine, but new regulations governing health, safety and security will supplement existing medical cannabis program regulations under the newly established Maryland Cannabis Administration.
General Questions about Question 4
The passing of Question 4 in Maryland allows adults aged 21 and over to legally purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. The newly established Maryland Cannabis Administration will regulate the expanded medical and adult-use cannabis industry, while patients can still obtain medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries. Interested individuals who wish to apply for a cannabis license should expect three separate rounds of licensing, with extensive outreach and education on the licensing process being conducted by the new agency before the first application round takes place in fall 2023.
Passing the ballot referendum
The ballot referendum process in Maryland allows voters to directly decide on proposed changes to the state’s laws, such as the recent Question 4 that legalized recreational marijuana for adults. Passing Question 4 involved key players and groups, including advocacy organizations like Maryland NORML and industry associations like the Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Trade Association. The impact of passing Question 4 on existing medical marijuana laws is minimal, as patients can continue to access their medication through registered dispensaries with patient-only operating hours.
Other provisions of the referendum
The referendum includes provisions for licensing requirements for recreational marijuana businesses, taxation and revenue allocation from recreational marijuana sales, and social equity programs to address past drug-related injustices. Businesses looking to enter the cannabis industry should familiarize themselves with these regulations in order to operate successfully within the legal framework. Additionally, those interested in obtaining a license should be aware of the three separate rounds of licensing that will occur over the next few years. The new Maryland Cannabis Administration will conduct extensive outreach and education on the licensing process and cannabis industry before each round of applications begins.
Anticipated timeline for adult-use cannabis licensing process
Maryland’s current medical marijuana program has been in operation since 2017 and has experienced steady growth. The legalization of recreational cannabis is expected to have a significant impact on the industry and economy in Maryland, with projections estimating millions of dollars in tax revenue and job creation.
However, factors such as regulatory hurdles, licensing requirements, and competing legislation could potentially impact the timeline for the recreational licensing process. It’s important for entrepreneurs looking to enter the market to stay informed on any updates or changes that may affect their business plans.
In conclusion, the passing of Question 4 in Maryland legalizing recreational marijuana for adults has opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter the cannabis industry. However, it’s essential for businesses to familiarize themselves with the licensing requirements, taxation, revenue allocation, and social equity programs included in the referendum to operate successfully within the legal framework.
Additionally, staying informed about any updates or changes to the regulatory environment, licensing requirements, and competing legislation that may impact the timeline of the recreational licensing process is crucial.
While the impact of passing Question 4 on existing medical marijuana laws is minimal, the legalization of recreational cannabis is expected to have a significant impact on Maryland’s industry and economy, with projections estimating millions of dollars in tax revenue and job creation. Overall, as the industry continues to evolve and grow, it’s essential for entrepreneurs to stay informed and adapt their business plans accordingly to succeed in the cannabis market.
The post Maryland Recreational Marijuana: What You Need to Know appeared first on Cannabis Industry Lawyer | Marijuana Business Attorneys for Licensed Operators.