Maryland Begins Legal Cannabis Sales – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana
Maryland has begun legal cannabis sales eight months after voters approved a ballot measure. The state gave medical cannabis dispensaries the green light to sell to the state’s new recreational customers.
Other licenses will begin getting issued in 2024.
Maryland defines adults as 21 and older, limiting them to 1.5 ounces of cannabis. Residents can cultivate up to two plants for personal use.
“These new laws will dramatically reduce police interactions for cannabis, and provide adults 21 and older with safe, legal access to cannabis products. We’re proud to join our allies, legislative leaders, and Marylanders across the state in celebrating this victory and reflecting on the tireless work put in to get here,” said Olivia Naugle, senior policy analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project.
Details of Maryland’s Legalization
On November 8, 2022, 67.2% of Maryland voters approved Question 4, asking whether cannabis should be legal.
Maryland sets the record in the USA for the highest margin of any ballot measure on legalizing cannabis.
With the thumbs up from voters, legislators introduced and passed two bills (HB 556/ SB 516). Governor Wes Moore signed the bills into law.
Additionally, Maryland’s legislature introduced and passed HB 1071. This bill says cannabis smell or odor is not grounds for a police search. It also reduced the penalty for public smoking from a $250 fine to $50.
Maryland’s first legal cannabis sales began on July 1, 2023.
Maryland joins the other 22 states that have legalized cannabis. Since legal cannabis sales in Virginia, Delaware, and Minnesota haven’t begun yet, Maryland will be considered the 20th state to legalize cannabis.
Changes to Maryland’s Medical Cannabis
As mentioned, Maryland’s legal cannabis sales come from former medical cannabis dispensaries. While these still serve medical patients, adults over 21 can now purchase flowers, vapes, edibles, tinctures and other cannabis goods.
Maryland’s legalization changed the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission. The Maryland Cannabis Administration will now regulate the production and sale of cannabis. The acting director of the new agency expects sales to triple over the next year.
Media reported long lines at existing medical dispensaries on July 1. As one owner told the local news, they required additional staff, products, and security.
So far, the state has 95 cannabis shops.
Meg Nash, a partner at a law firm specializing in cannabis and psychedelics, praised Maryland’s approach of converting licences of medical cannabis dispensaries to recreational ones.
As she told High Times, “Maryland’s swift implementation of its adult-use cannabis program is remarkable, and will hopefully serve as a model for other states that share the policy goals of increased access to safe cannabis products and to deterring participation in the unregulated industry.”
Maryland Begins Legal Cannabis Sales
Maryland’s legal cannabis sales aren’t exclusive to Maryland’s residents. Any government-issued ID will work. However, transporting cannabis over state lines remains illegal.
Maryland’s legal cannabis sales are also slapped with a sales tax similar to the state’s tax rate for alcohol.
As mentioned, the possession limit for flower is 1.5 ounces. Concerning concentrates, consumers can buy up to 12 grams.
Unfortunately, the state caps edible cannabis products at 10mg per dose. That is just for recreational consumers, however. The state permits 25mg and 40mg options for medical patients.
Additionally, medical cannabis patients do not have to pay the sales tax. They also have access to a larger menu of higher-potency cannabis products.
We applaud Maryland’s approach of not throwing medical patients under the bus (compared to Canada’s disastrous medical cannabis regime). But we’re unsure what incentive the serious stoner has to engage with Maryland’s legal cannabis sales.
The underground “black” market can provide higher potency cannabis. Or, a person can continue to go down the medical cannabis route.
A better option would be to remove the THC limits altogether and let Maryland’s adults make free choices. Otherwise, how do they justify calling themselves the “Free State?”