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maryland

maryland marijuana laws 

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. 

 

In 2015, 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.

 

  1. Key Dates

 

TBA 2020: Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission will be undertaking two independent investigations into the latest license application process.

  1. Application Fees/Start up costs

The MMCC has established the following 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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  1. Available License Types

 

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

 

  1. 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

 

  1. 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

  1. 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.

 

  1. Adult use/medical/CBD only/ALL/none

 

There is currently no legislation in place for adult-use recreational marijuana.

 

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. 

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