The governor of Maryland has signed the bill to regulate cannabis sales, paving the way for statewide legalization.
The governor said during the signing ceremony that the law “will ensure that the deployment of recreational cannabis in our state promotes opportunity in an equitable manner.”
“The criminalization of cannabis has deeply harmed low-income communities and communities of color,” he said. “We want to make sure that the legalization of cannabis affects these communities in a profound way. »
Today I signed bills into law regarding reproductive rights and equity in the cannabis industry.
Watch our remarks and bill signing ceremony here: https://t.co/vOr4dUSOtn
Watch bill signing ceremony here: https://t.co/ShCRwMMhj0
— Governor Wes Moore (@GovWesMoore) May 3, 2023
State lawmakers worked quickly to put the cannabis regulation legislation in place before the state’s voter-approved legalization law took effect in July.
Sales will begin on July 1 at current medical cannabis dispensaries.
The Legalization of Cannabis in Maryland
Here are the outlines of cannabis regulations in Maryland, passed by lawmakers as SB 516 and HB 556:
- Cannabis will be taxed at 9%. Sales of cannabis for medical purposes will be exempt from this tax.
- 35% of taxes will go to a community reinvestment fund, the counties, a cannabis public health fund and a cannabis business relief fund
- A new independent administration, the Maryland Cannabis Administrationwill be responsible for regulating the program
- Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will be converted to dual licenses when legalization takes effect on July 1 if they have paid a fee
- Regulators to start approving additional cannabis licenses by July 1, 2024
- Eventually, the number of licenses will be limited to 300 dispensaries, 100 processors and 75 growers. For smaller micro-enterprises, the limit will be 10 dispensaries, 100 processors and 100 growers
- Social equity applicants will need to be 65% owned by people who have lived in disproportionately affected areas for at least five of the past ten years, attended public school in such an area for at least five years or meeting other criteria based on a study of disparities
- A capital access program will be established under the aegis of the State Department of Commerce to promote industrial opportunities for social equity applicants and provide low interest loans
- Legislation will end the sale of hemp-derived delta-8 products and require all psychotropic cannabis products to be sold through licensed cannabis businesses
- Patients who use cannabis for medical purposes will be able to grow up to four plants for personal use, up from two under the current law
- Smoking will be prohibited inside on-site consumer establishments, but will be permitted outside of licensed establishments
- Regulators to set rules for online cannabis sales by July 2025