Are you an entrepreneur looking to break into the cannabis industry in Maryland? The state’s Social Equity Marijuana Business License Program could be your ticket to success. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the Maryland Social Equity Verification Process, from checking your eligibility to applying for a social equity license. With priority licensing, access to capital, and technical assistance at stake, it’s time to learn how you can overcome barriers and thrive in this growing industry.
Maryland Social Equity Cannabis Business License
On September 1st, the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) and its Office of Social Equity (OSE) announced that their social equity verification portal will go live on September 8, 2023. This is a significant step towards the first round of adult-use social equity licensing in the state.
Maryland is the only state in the country to set aside the first round of new cannabis licenses exclusively for social equity applicants and only verified social equity applicants may apply for a standard or micro grower, processor, or retail/dispensary license in the first round.
Overview of the program
- The Maryland Social Equity Cannabis Business License Program aims to address historical disparities by providing opportunities for those who have lived in Disproportionately Impacted Areas.
- Key components of the program include priority licensing, access to capital, and technical assistance.
- The objectives are to promote equity in the cannabis industry and support economic empowerment for eligible applicants.
The OSE has created a simple and free verification portal to check your eligibility for the Social Equity Cannabis Business License. By using the Verification Portal, you can determine if you meet the criteria to participate in Maryland’s recreational cannabis industry.
Steps to Verify Your Eligibility
- Request a link to the Social Equity Verification Portal from the MCA by completing the Cannabis Business Licensing Interest Form.
- Get a perfect score on the Assessment to demonstrate your interest and understanding of the application process for the Maryland Social Equity Cannabis Lottery for Licenses.
- Provide the documentation in the Verification Portal that shows your eligibility in at least one of the criteria.
- Upon successful verification, you will receive a report. You must save the receipt of the report as this is a required requirement for the application.
Note: A personalized link to the Verification Portal will be sent via email within 1-2 business days after completing the Cannabis Business Licensing Interest Form.
- Living in a Disproportionately Impacted Area for 5 of the last 10 years immediately preceding the submission of the application – List of Zip Codes released by OSE.
- Attending a public school in a Disproportionately Impacted Area for at least 5 years – List of Public Schools
- For at least 2 years, attending a four-year institution of higher education in the State where at least 40% of the individuals who attend the institution of higher education are eligible for a Pell Grant
Timeline of the verification process
The Social Equity Verification Portal will allow prospective applicants to confirm their eligibility for social equity licensing before the application round opens later this year. The portal will open on September 8, 2023, and will be open for 60 days, closing on November 7, 2023.
If you are eligible for a social equity license, congratulations! The next step is to apply for the license through the Maryland Cannabis Administration. Make sure to have all the requirements prepared.
- Comprehensive Business Plan is essential for demonstrating the viability and profitability of your dispensary.
- Detailed Operational Plan that will outline how you will run your dispensary and ensure compliance with state regulations.
- Detailed Diversity Plan that prioritizes diversity and inclusion, aiming to provide opportunities for individuals from marginalized communities. This plan should outline your strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion within your dispensary, this plan should include employment, training and professional development, and exclusive programs for individuals from marginalized communities
The Maryland Cannabis Business License Program provides a unique opportunity for individuals from Disproportionately Impacted Areas to participate in the legal cannabis industry. By checking your eligibility through the verification process and preparing a comprehensive business plan, operational plan and diversity plan you can take the next steps towards starting or operating a successful cannabis business in Maryland. Our team of Experts would love to help you prepare the requirements and be successful on your journey!