FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Contact: Violet Cavendish
Adult-use consumers will be able to purchase legal cannabis in Maryland beginning July 1
Annapolis, MD — Beginning on Saturday, July 1, adults 21 and older will be able to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to two plants for personal use in Maryland. On the same date, existing medical cannabis dispensaries that have paid a conversion fee will be able to serve adult-use customers. Other licenses will begin being issued to social equity applicants in early 2024.
“On the ballot last November, Marylanders made it clear they wanted an end to cannabis prohibition in the Free State. That historic moment has arrived. 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.
On November 8, 2022, 67.2% of Maryland voters (the highest margin of any ballot measure to legalize cannabis) approved Question 4, a legislatively referred ballot question to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over. Earlier this year, lawmakers took the next step and passed twin bills (HB 556/ SB 516) to implement an adult-use cannabis market in Maryland, which Governor Wes Moore signed into law. More details on Question 4 and the companion bill (HB 837) to implement it are available here, and a full summary of the regulation laws (HB 556/ SB 516) is available here.
There are now 23 states that have legalized cannabis for adults. Maryland will be the 20th state to begin recreational cannabis sales. Three states — Virginia, Delaware, and Minnesota — have legalized cannabis for adults, but legal sales have not begun yet. Washington, D.C.’s voters also legalized cannabis for adults’ use, but Congress has blocked the District from establishing a regulated adult-use market.
In addition to the omnibus implementation bill, the legislature also passed HB 1071 in 2023, which provides the odor of cannabis alone is not grounds for a search and reduces the penalty for public smoking from a $250 fine to a $50 fine for a first offense. Governor Moore let the bill become law without his signature on May 19, and it will also go into effect on July 1, 2023.
MPP leads the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition, which for years has been advocating for equitable legalization. This advocacy spurred Maryland state lawmakers to refer Question 4 to the 2022 ballot and pass the companion bill to set up the initial steps for legalization. MPP also played an instrumental role in assisting the Yes on 4 campaign to ensure Question 4’s success. The coalition will continue advocating to improve Maryland's cannabis policies, including to provide employment protections for cannabis consumers, expand expungement, and to prevent parole and probation from being revoked for cannabis use.
Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.