Maryland Cannabis Laws

Maryland's updated cannabis regulations, effective July 1, 2023, establish a comprehensive framework for adult-use cannabis. Dispensaries must adhere to strict security, advertising, and operating requirements, including accommodating medical patients, ensuring product safety, and complying with purchase limits. This structured approach aims to balance market demand, public safety, and social equity in Maryland's burgeoning cannabis industry.

Every Dispensary Must Know

Maryland Cannabis Laws at a Glance


Maryland’s cannabis regulations have evolved significantly with the Cannabis Reform Act, which was signed into law in May 2023. This act established a comprehensive framework for adult-use marijuana in the state, effective from July 1, 2023. Below are the key points of the updated laws:

  • Seed-to-Sale Tracking: Maryland utilizes Metrc for the comprehensive tracking and reporting of cannabis from seed to sale.
  • Regulatory Body: The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) is responsible for regulating cannabis businesses within the state.
  • Taxation: Adult-use cannabis purchases are subject to a 9% sales and use tax.
  • Possession Limits: Adults 21 and older can legally possess and purchase up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis.
  • Licensing Rounds: The state has scheduled three rounds of licensing for cannabis businesses. The first round is set for the fall of 2023, with the second round following in 2024.
  • Advertising Restrictions: Any advertisements making therapeutic or medical claims must be supported by reliable scientific evidence and must include information about potential side effects or risks.
  • Online Ordering: Licensed dispensaries are permitted to use online systems for pre-orders, which can be picked up or delivered.
  • Operating Hours: Dispensaries are not allowed to operate for more than 12 hours a day.

These updated regulations aim to ensure a well-regulated cannabis market that promotes safety, compliance, and accessibility for both medical patients and adult-use consumers in Maryland.



To operate a cannabis business in Maryland, a person must obtain a cannabis license issued by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA). This licensing framework supports both medical and adult-use cannabis businesses with specific provisions for different license types.

Types of Licenses

  1. Standard Licenses
    • Growers: Authorized to operate between 10,000 to 300,000 square feet of indoor canopy.
    • Processors: Authorized to process more than 1,000 pounds of cannabis per year.
    • Dispensaries: Authorized to operate a physical store that sells cannabis products.
  2. Micro Licenses
    • Growers: Authorized to operate up to 10,000 square feet of indoor canopy.
    • Processors: Authorized to process up to 1,000 pounds of cannabis per year.
    • Dispensaries: Authorized to operate a delivery service without a physical storefront, employing no more than 10 employees.
  3. Incubator Space Licenses
    • Authorized to operate a facility within which a micro licensee may operate.
  4. On-Site Consumption Licenses
    • Authorized to operate a facility where individuals can consume cannabis on the premises.

License Limits

The MCA will issue a limited number of licenses for each category:

  • Standard Licenses: 75 growers, 100 processors, 300 dispensaries.
  • Micro Licenses: 100 growers, 100 processors, 200 dispensaries.
  • Incubator Space Licenses: 10 licenses.
  • On-Site Consumption Licenses: 50 licenses.

Application Process

  1. Initial and Renewal Periods
    • Licenses are valid for 5 years, with the same duration for renewals.
    • Converted medical licenses must pay a conversion fee and comply with ownership restrictions.
  2. Application Requirements
    • Detailed business plans, proof of residency, and background checks for all principal operators.
    • Compliance with geographic distribution and market demand considerations.
  3. Educational Outreach
    • The MCA will conduct extensive outreach and education about the licensing process before the application rounds.

License Conditions and Enforcement

  1. Inspection and Compliance
    • The MCA may inspect cannabis licensees to ensure compliance with regulations.
    • Licenses can be revoked if a business fails to establish operations within 18 months of licensure.
  2. Penalties
    • Penalties or license rescissions can be imposed for non-compliance with the standards for licensure.
  3. License Transfers
    • Licenses may be transferred only in accordance with specific regulations.

Market Demand and Social Equity

  1. Market Demand Consideration
    • Licensing decisions will consider market demand and aim to encourage balanced geographic distribution.
  2. Social Equity
    • Licenses converted from medical to adult-use must reserve a specified amount of cannabis for social equity licensees.

By adhering to these guidelines, businesses can navigate the licensing process effectively and ensure compliance with Maryland’s cannabis regulations.

Operating Requirements

Accommodations for Medical Patients

  1. Access and Service
    • Dispensaries must provide either exclusive access for at least one hour per day or a dedicated service line for qualified patients and caregivers.
    • Additional accommodations for medical patients include priority access, designated parking spaces, extended hours, and extra service lines.
  2. Product Reservations
    • Dispensaries must ensure an adequate supply of medical cannabis products.
    • High-potency products should be reserved for medical patients.
    • Qualifying patients and caregivers can purchase concentrated cannabis products exceeding 10mg THC per serving or 100mg per package.
    • Adult consumers are limited to products with up to 10mg THC per serving or 100mg per package.

Social Equity and Shelf Space

  1. Shelf Space Allocation
    • At least 25% of the shelf space in dispensaries must be allocated for cannabis and cannabis products from social equity licensees and growers/processors that do not share common ownership with the dispensary.

Location Restrictions

  1. Distance Requirements
    • Dispensaries cannot be located within:
      • 500 feet of pre-existing primary or secondary schools, licensed child care centers, registered family child care homes, playgrounds, recreation centers, libraries, or public parks.
      • 1,000 feet of another dispensary.
  2. Exceptions
    • Local political subdivisions may adopt ordinances to reduce these distance requirements.
    • Distance requirements do not apply to dispensaries properly zoned and operating before July 1, 2023.

Hours of Operation

  1. Operating Hours
    • Dispensaries cannot operate for more than 12 hours a day.
    • Operating hours must be between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

By following these operating requirements, dispensaries can ensure they provide adequate service to medical patients, comply with social equity mandates, and adhere to location and operating hour restrictions to maintain a responsible and compliant cannabis business in Maryland.


Premises Construction and Secure Room

  1. Premises Construction
    • Dispensary premises must be constructed to prevent unauthorized entry.
    • A secure room is mandatory for storing the medical cannabis inventory.
  2. Secure Room Specifications
    • Constructed with concrete or similar robust material.
    • Cannot be adjacent to an exterior wall.
    • Must have a single entrance door meeting commercial security standards.
    • The door should be equipped with a cipher or chip-activated keyed lock and should not be visible from public areas.
  3. Storage Requirements
    • All medical cannabis inventory must be stored in the secure room outside of business hours, and one hour before and after business hours.

Lighting and Surveillance

  1. Lighting
    • Lighting fixtures must ensure proper surveillance throughout the premises.
  2. Security Alarm System
    • Must cover all perimeter entry points, windows, and portals.
    • Continuously monitored with capabilities to detect smoke, fire, and power loss.
    • Panic alarms must be located at convenient, accessible points within the premises.
    • An independent alarm system is required to protect:
      • On-site records storage.
      • Off-site records storage.
      • Secure rooms holding medical cannabis.
    • Alarm systems must remain operational as long as medical cannabis is present on the premises.
    • Equipped with auxiliary power to maintain operation for at least 48 hours.

Video Surveillance

  1. System Requirements
    • Motion-activated video surveillance recording system operating 24/7, 365 days a year.
    • High-quality and high-resolution imaging capable of capturing clear facial details.
    • Date and time stamp for each recorded frame.
  2. Placement and Coverage
    • Cameras must cover all key areas, including exits, entrances to medical cannabis packaging, storage, and dispensing areas.
    • Notice of video surveillance must be visibly posted.
  3. Recordings
    • Access-limited and protected by an independent security alarm system.
    • Easily accessible for investigative purposes.
    • Retained for a minimum of 90 calendar days.
    • Provided to the Commission or law enforcement agency within 48 hours upon request.

Zone Division and Access Control

  1. Public Zone
    • Waiting area open to the general public.
    • Service area for consulting with patients and caregivers and dispensing medical cannabis.
    • Restricted entry to the service area for qualifying patients and caregivers.
    • Display of business hours at the entrance.
  2. Operations Zone
    • Separate areas for medical cannabis storage, preparation and packaging, agent breaks, and changing.
    • Document movement to and from the operations zone using tamper-evident logbooks or electronic identification logs.
    • Clear signage demarcating different zones.
    • Securely controlled access points between zones.
    • Security alarms and video surveillance to monitor zone separation.

By adhering to these comprehensive security measures, dispensaries in Maryland can ensure the safe storage and dispensing of medical cannabis while preventing unauthorized access and maintaining compliance with state regulations.


Definition and General Requirements

  1. Advertisement Definition
    • An “advertisement” is any publication, dissemination, or circulation of auditory, visual, digital, oral, or written matter designed to induce the sale of cannabis or related products or services.
  2. Exclusions
    • Packaging or labeling of products is not considered advertising.

Therapeutic or Medical Claims

  1. Scientific Evidence
    • Advertisements making therapeutic or medical claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
  2. Side Effects Disclosure
    • Must include information on significant serious and common side effects or risks associated with cannabis use.

Prohibited Advertising Practices

  1. False or Misleading Statements
    • Advertisements must not contain false or misleading statements or otherwise violate specific commercial law articles.
  2. Targeting Minors
    • Advertisements cannot directly or indirectly target individuals under the age of 21.
    • Prohibited elements include:
      • Designs, illustrations, pictures, or representations that target or are attractive to minors, such as cartoon characters or mascots.
      • Displays of cannabis consumption, smoking, or vaping.
      • Encouragement or promotion of cannabis for use as an intoxicant.
      • Obscene content.
  3. Advertising Channels and Locations
    • Advertisements are prohibited on television, radio, internet, mobile applications, social media, or print publications unless at least 85% of the audience is reasonably expected to be at least 21 years old.
    • Advertising is not allowed on the sides of buildings, public visible locations, signs, posters, placards, devices, graphic displays, outdoor billboards, or freestanding signboards.

Requirements for Cannabis-Related Websites

  1. Age Verification
    • Websites must use a neutral age-screening mechanism to verify that users are at least 21 years old before accessing content or collecting personal information for advertising.
  2. Alternative Screening for Minors
    • Websites appropriate for qualifying patients under 21 must provide alternative screening mechanisms for those patients.
  3. Social Media and Mobile Applications
    • Advertisements must include a notification that individuals must be at least 21 years old to view the content.

Trademark and Brand Use

  1. Third-Party Use
    • Cannabis licensees cannot allow the use of their trademarks, brands, names, locations, or distinguishing characteristics for third-party advertisements that do not comply with these regulations.

By following these advertising guidelines, cannabis businesses in Maryland can ensure their promotional activities are compliant with state regulations, avoid targeting minors, and maintain the integrity and safety of their advertising practices.

Prohibited Acts

Age Verification

  1. Mandatory Verification
    • Dispensaries must verify the age of consumers before selling, transferring, or delivering cannabis or cannabis products.
    • For adult-use cannabis: Consumers must be at least 21 years old and provide valid government-issued photo identification.
    • For medical cannabis: Patients or caregivers must be registered with the division administration and be at least 18 years old.
  2. Penalties for Non-Compliance
    • Selling, transferring, or delivering cannabis without proper age verification will result in civil penalties:
      • $500 for the first violation.
      • $1,000 for the second violation within 24 months.
      • $5,000 for each subsequent violation within 24 months.
    • Violations more than 24 months apart are treated as first violations.
  3. License Consequences
    • Repeated violations (two or more within 24 months) can lead to license denial, reprimand, suspension, or revocation.

Prohibited Sales and Conduct

  1. Sales Restrictions
    • Dispensaries cannot sell, transfer, or deliver cannabis to visibly intoxicated individuals.
    • Cannabis or cannabis products cannot be offered as prizes, premiums, or consideration for lotteries, contests, games of chance, games of skill, or competitions.
  2. Internet Sales
    • Direct-to-consumer internet sales of adult-use cannabis are prohibited until July 1, 2025.
  3. Penalties for Prohibited Sales
    • Violating these restrictions can result in fines up to $1,000, suspension or revocation of a license, or both.

Defense for Violations

  1. Proper Identification Check
    • In defense of a violation, a dispensary can argue that an agent examined a valid driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID to verify the consumer’s, patient’s, or caregiver’s age.

By adhering to these prohibited act guidelines, dispensaries can ensure they operate within the legal framework established by Maryland state regulations, maintain their licenses, and avoid significant penalties.


Online Ordering System

  1. Pre-orders
    • Dispensaries may use an online ordering system to conduct pre-orders for both pick-up and delivery.
    • Adult consumers, qualifying patients, and caregivers are eligible for pre-order pick-up.
    • Delivery is restricted to qualifying patients and caregivers.
  2. Verification Requirements
    • The online ordering system must verify that the consumer is at least 21 years old or a qualifying patient or registered caregiver.
    • Both signature and contact information must be collected before accepting payment for the order.

Restrictions on Sales and Distribution

  1. Third-Party Sales
    • A licensed dispensary cannot sell or distribute cannabis through unlicensed third parties, intermediary businesses, brokers, or any other unauthorized entities.
  2. Access and Operating Hours
    • Dispensaries must restrict access to only qualifying patients, caregivers, and individuals over the age of 21.
    • Dispensaries cannot be open for business for more than 12 hours a day.
    • Operating hours are restricted to between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Display Requirements

  1. Proof of Licensure
    • Dispensaries may be required to prominently display valid proof of licensure.
  2. Consumer Education
    • Consumer education safety information provided by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) must be displayed.
  3. Age and Identification Requirements
    • Minimum purchase age and identification requirements should be clearly displayed within the dispensary.

By implementing and adhering to these ecommerce regulations, dispensaries in Maryland can ensure compliance with state laws, maintain the integrity of their operations, and provide safe and secure access to cannabis products for their customers.

Maryland Cannabis Laws FAQs

Is recreational marijuana legal in Maryland?

Yes, recreational marijuana is legal in Maryland for adults aged 21 and older. Starting July 1, 2023, adults can legally purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries.

Is weed legal in Baltimore?

Yes, weed is legal in Baltimore for adults 21 and older, in accordance with Maryland state law. This includes the legal possession, use, and purchase of cannabis from licensed dispensaries.

What is the legal limit for cannabis in Maryland?

Adults 21 and older can legally possess up to:

  • 1.5 ounces of usable cannabis (flower)
  • 12 grams of concentrated cannabis (vapes, vape cartridges)
  • Cannabis products containing up to 750 milligrams of delta-9-THC

Is it legal to grow marijuana in Maryland?

Yes, adults 21 and older can legally grow up to 2 cannabis plants for personal use. These plants must be kept out of public view and secured to prevent access by unauthorized individuals or those under 21 years old.

Can I sell cannabis in Maryland?

To sell cannabis in Maryland, you must obtain a cannabis license issued by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA). This includes licenses for growers, processors, dispensaries, microbusinesses, incubator spaces, and on-site consumption facilities. Licensing rounds began in the fall of 2023, with additional rounds scheduled for 2024.

How is cannabis taxed in Maryland?

Adult-use cannabis sales are subject to a 9% sales and use tax. Medical cannabis sales may have different tax implications.

What is Metrc and how is it used in Maryland?

Metrc is the seed-to-sale tracking system used in Maryland to monitor the cultivation, processing, and sale of cannabis products. All licensed cannabis businesses must use Metrc to ensure compliance with state regulations and to track inventory and sales accurately.

By understanding and following these frequently asked questions, both consumers and cannabis business operators can ensure they remain compliant with Maryland’s cannabis regulations.

Disclaimer: The material contained on this website and any attached or referenced pages has been compiled by UZIO for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be and is not considered to be legal advice. This post is current as of [1-July-2024]. Cannabis regulations are rapidly changing, and legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.