Maryland Rec Market Primed for July Launch With Governor's Signature

MMJ operators will be able to pay a conversion fee to participate in the adult-use market starting July 1.

Maryland will officially kick off adult-use cannabis sales on July 1 now that Gov. Wes Moore signed a pair of implementation bills into law on Wednesday.

The measures, Senate Bill 516 and House Bill 556, will let Maryland’s 102 existing medical cannabis companies begin recreational sales in July, with additional rounds of business licensing to come in 2024, according to an analysis by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Medical marijuana companies will have to pay a minimum $100,000 “conversion fee” that will vary depending on last year’s income for each business. Growers and processors will have to fork over 10% of gross revenue from 2022 for permission to participate in the recreational market, and for dispensaries it’s 8%. But the conversion fees can’t be higher than $2 million, MPP found.

The new regulatory setup also allows licensed medical grows to expand their existing canopy by up to 20% in order to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand.

A new state agency, the Maryland Cannabis Administration, will enact emergency industry rules before recreational sales begin in July.

The first round of new business permits in January 2024, which will be reserved for social equity applicants, will have 220 licenses available.:

  • 50 cultivation
  • 70 processor
  • 80 dispensary
  • 10 delivery
  • 10 incubator

More permits will be issued in May 2024 for nonequity applicants, though social equity entrepreneurs will still be the only ones eligible for “micro” licenses, according to the MPP analysis.

Lawmakers announced a regulatory framework last month after a resounding victory at the ballot box for cannabis legalization, when voters approved adult use sales by a 67%-33% margin.

John Schroyer

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