Maryland’s Office of Social Equity on Wednesday released its eligibility criteria for social equity applicants in the state’s adult-use cannabis program.
The social equity eligibility criteria was shared ahead of Maryland’s upcoming Fall 2023 cannabis license application period.
OSE, in its criteria, defines a social equity applicant as an entity that is at least 65% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Has lived in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five of the last 10 years immediately preceding the submission of the application; or
- Attended a public school in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five years; or
- For at least two years, attended a four-year institution of higher education in Maryland where at least 40% of the individuals who attended the institution of higher education received a Pell Grant.
“With the introduction of our new social equity eligibility criteria for the upcoming cannabis licensing application round, Maryland embarks on a transformative trajectory. This forwardlooking measure underscores our dedication to rectifying past injustices and ensuring a level playing field,” Office of Social Equity Executive Director Audrey Johnson said in a news release. “I affirm that by facilitating equal opportunities, we reshape the cannabis industry’s narrative, enabling marginalized voices to craft a future that’s rich in diversity and vitality. Over the next months, our office will offer support and technical assistance to social equity applicants, making sure they possess the tools necessary to compete fairly for license awards.”
The Maryland Cannabis Administration, which oversees the state’s adult-use and medical cannabis programs, will conduct the adult-use social equity application and licensing process, according to the release.
The social equity eligibility criteria was set by OSE, the Maryland Judiciary, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the Maryland Higher Education Commission, which conducted statistical analyses in its assessment process.
“As the only state in the country to exclusively reserve the first round of new cannabis licenses to social equity applicants, Maryland continues to lead the nation in promoting access and equity in the adult-use cannabis market,” Gov. Wes Moore said. “Leaving no one behind means ensuring that communities that have borne the brunt of misguided policies have an equal shot at benefitting from this lucrative industry.”