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How to open a dispensary in Maryland

Overview

Want to know how to open a dispensary in Maryland in 2022-2023? This page will give you all the future updates on how to open a dispensary in Maryland whether you're a new or existing cannabis business owner. The state of Maryland is looking very positive in terms of potential cannabis legalization in November. According to a poll released by Goucher College, fully two-thirds of Maryland adults now favor legalization of recreational marijuana. There is still a wide partisan gap on the question of legalizing marijuana in the state, the poll found:

  • Among Democrats, 77% support, while 18% oppose

  • Among Republicans, 50% support, while 47% oppose

  • Among independents, 60% support and 34% oppose

 

Rep. Clippinger pre-filed a bill to bring a marijuana legalization ballot proposal before the state’s voters in the year 2022 with the measure House Bill 1. Both

HB 1, the referendum measure, and HB 837, the implementation bill, were sponsored by Del. Luke Clippinger (D), who chairs the Judiciary Committee.

HB 837, meanwhile, sets basic rules for the adult-use program if voters approve the ballot referendum. 

 

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) included the cannabis legislation in a list of bills he is not signing or vetoing, but is allowing to take effect without his signature. If approved by voters in November of 2022, the measure would amend the Maryland Constitution to add a new article, Article XX, which would allow individuals 21 years of age or older to use and possess marijuana. The added section also authorizes the Maryland General Assembly to "provide for the use, distribution, possession, regulation, and taxation of cannabis within the state." 

Green Rush Consulting was successful in preparing applications and securing a total of 8 licenses for its clients in 2015 in the state of Maryland, six Maryland dispensary licenses and 2 manufacturing licenses in total, for a 100% success rate. 

maryland medical cannabis commission

In 2014, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 923, which authorized access to medical cannabis by patients with serious illnesses. To manage the medical marijuana industry in Maryland, the state legislature appointed the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). In May of 2018, Governor Larry Hogan signed House Bill 2 (HB2), the Natalie M. Laprade Medical Cannabis Commission Reform Act. Following efforts by the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, this Bill substantially updated Maryland’s existing medical marijuana program, with an emphasis on increasing the participation of small-, minority-, and women-owned businesses. Maryland is also considering full recreational marijuana legalization.

 

HB2 authorized the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to award additional permits. After an applicant raised concerns that their application was improperly disqualified, a state judge issued a temporary restraining order in September 2019, blocking the issuance of 14 licenses.

 

The MMCC will be initiating an independent investigation of the 14 cannabis business licenses — the third such investigation — as well as an inquiry into the process for awarding those licenses. 

cannabis business license types 

In 2015, the MMCC established the following cannabis license types and fee schedule:

  • Grower fees: 

    • License as Grower-only: Application fee — $6,000 (Stage 1: $2,000; Stage 2: $4,000); 

    • Annual license fee — $125,000

  • License as Grower and Dispensary: 

    • Application fee — $11,000 (Stage 1: $3,000 ; Stage 2: $8,000) 

    • Annual licensing fee — $165,000

  • Licensed Processor fees: 

    • Application fee — $6,000 (Stage 1: $2,000; Stage 2: $4,000) 

    • Annual license fee — $40,000

  • Licensed Dispensary fees: 

    • Application fee — $5,000 (Stage 1: $1,000; Stage 2: $4,000) 

    • Annual license fee — $40,000

  • Independent Testing Laboratory fees: 

    • Registration fee — $100 

    • Renewal fee — $100

  • Miscellaneous fees: 

    • Transfer of ownership of grower license, processor or dispensary license — $7,000

    • Change in the location of grower, processor or dispensary premises — $7,000

    • License reinstatement fee — $2,000

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HB2 authorized the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to award additional permits. These licenses are currently on hold pending an independent investigation.

 

Qualifying Conditions

 

Maryland’s current law includes the following qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients:

 

  • Cachexia

  • Anorexia

  • Wasting syndrome

  • Severe pain

  • Severe nausea

  • Seizures

  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms

  • Glaucoma

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Chronic pain

 

History

Senate Bill 923, passed on April 14, 2014, authorized access to medical cannabis by patients with serious illnesses. To manage the medical marijuana industry in Maryland, the state legislature appointed the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC).

 

The MMCC created medical cannabis industry regulations. In September 2015, these became official regulations published in section 10 Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Subtitle 62.

 

During the first phase of medical cannabis license applications, the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission accepted 1081 applications in November 2015:

 

  • 811 dispensary (102 approved)

  • 146 cultivating (15 approved)

  • 124 processing (15 approved)

 

Licenses were awarded in 2016 and licensees have since begun to operate.

 

During this phase, Green Rush Consulting prepared medical marijuana business applications for 6 clients, winning pre-approval for all submitted applications: a total of 2 processing licenses and 6 dispensary licenses.

 

In May of 2018, Governor Larry Hogan signed House Bill 2 (HB2), the Natalie M. Laprade Medical Cannabis Commission Reform Act. Following efforts by the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, this Bill substantially updated Maryland’s existing medical marijuana program, with an emphasis on increasing the participation of small-, minority-, and women-owned businesses. Maryland is also considering full recreational marijuana legalization.

 

HB2 authorized the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to award additional permits. After concerns were raised that the process was compromised, a state judge issued a restraining order in September 2019, blocking the issuance of 14 licenses.

 

The MMCC will be initiating an independent investigation of the 14 cannabis business licenses — the third such investigation — as well as an inquiry into the process for awarding those licenses. 

Other State Information:

 

Maryland’s medical marijuana industry was slow, but finished toward $100 million in first-year sales. Maryland totaled $95.4 million in dispensary sales between Dec. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2018, averaging 21% monthly growth and plateauing in November at $13.8 million. Marijuana dispensaries in Maryland generated $96 million in gross revenue for the 12 months ending Nov. 30, 2018, according to the MMCC’s report to the legislature.

 

Initial patient numbers we roughly 11,000, and grew 191% over seven months and closed 2018 with more than 50,000 certified patients. For comparison, Illinois and New York had less than 13,000 patients each after one year of sale

Amount/types of licenses issued/available

Effective May 15, 2018, the Health-General Article § 13-3306(a)(2)(i) authorizes the Commission to award up to four  additional medical cannabis grower licenses and up to ten additional medical cannabis processor licenses. These licenses are currently on hold pending an independent investigation.

The MMCC oversees all medical marijuana patient register in Maryland. As of June 10, 2019, the MMCC reports :

  • 97,830 Registered Patients

  • 67,353 Certified Patients

  • 26,106 Pending Patients

  • 6,398 Registered Caregivers


As a results of the Maryland HB 698 (2018) and the 2014 Farm Bill, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has established the Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. Prospective growers must apply to the Maryland Department of Agriculture to register the site where they plan to grow hemp. These licenses are currently on hold pending an independent investigation.

Estimated market size

Sales between January and December 2018 – the first full year of sales – came in at $109.3 million, a figure that was surpassed in July of this year.

how to start a marijuana business maryland

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Maryland, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities.