Equity Project State Briefing
Is Cannabis Legal in Maryland?
Cannabis in Maryland is only legal for medical purposes.
Date of Legalization
Maryland legalized the medical use of cannabis in 2014.
Medical patients may possess up to a 30 day supply of medical cannabis. Unless specifically authorized by a doctor, a 30 day supply is 120 grams of usable cannabis or 36 grams of an infused product. Possession by a non-patient of up to 10 grams is a decriminalized civil offense.
Other Licensing Provisions
- License Caps:
Yes. Maryland has license caps. There are two licenses available for each of the state’s 47 senatorial districts.
Application Selection Process
- Selection System:
Maryland distributes medical cannabis licenses through a merit system.
Felony Disqualification on Ownership
- Ownership Exclusion for Felony Convictions:
- Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:
Maryland’s medical framework disqualifies applicants for cannabis licensure on the basis of certain convictions.An applicant will not be granted a license if they have been convicted of a felony drug offense within the proceeding seven years. Additionally, the commission may deny a license to a person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Employee Criminal Records
- Conviction Restrictions for Employees:
- Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:
Maryland’s medical use sector has restrictions disqualifying potential employees with certain convictions. An applicant will not be granted a workers permit if they have been convicted of a felony drug offense within the proceeding seven years. Additionally, the commission may deny a license to a person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Availability of Expungements
Yes. Expungements are available in Maryland. However, they are are not automatic. A person may ask the court to expunge their conviction for possession of cannabis 4 years after the completion of their sentence. Additionally, a person may ask the court to expunge their felony conviction for intent to distribute cannabis 15 years after the completion of their sentence.
Social Equity Definition / Criteria
“Disadvantaged equity applicant” means an applicant who has a net worth less than $1,713,333, and is a member of any of the following minority groups: African American, Hispanic, Native American Asian, or woman of any race.
Applicants must qualify as minority enterprises. A Minority business enterprise is any legal entity, except a joint venture, that is:
(i) Organized to engage in commercial transactions;
(ii) At least 51% owned and controlled by 1 or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged; and
(iii) Managed by, and the daily business operations of which are controlled by, one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.
Social Equity Provisions
Maryland’s social equity program includes establishing and conducting training programs for employment in medical cannabis industry, grants to appropriate educational and business development organizations, disseminating information about the licensing process for medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries through media demonstrated to reach a large number of small, minority, and women business owners and entrepreneurs. Bonus criteria points will be awarded to applications that are at least 51% owned by disadvantaged equity applicants.
Fee Waivers and Reductions
Maryland does not offer fee waivers or reductions to support medical cannabis licensees who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.
Other Financial Support for Social Equity Applicants and Licensees
Maryland does not offer state level funding to support medical cannabis licensees who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.
License Priorities and Set Asides
While Maryland does not reserve any specific number of licenses for individuals impacted by the war on drugs, the state will encourage the submission of applications from applicants who qualify as minority business enterprises. Additionally, within the application process 15% of points will be awarded based on the applicants diversity plan which includes evidence the business is or made a good faith effort to be at least 51% owned by a disadvantaged equity applicant or member of a disadvantaged group.