Maryland Gov. Moore Signs Legislation To Implement Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization

Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed legislation to implement adult-use cannabis legalization in the state, including its production, sale and consumption.

Senate Bill 516, signed into law by Moore on May 3, establishes the Maryland Cannabis Administration to oversee the state’s regulated market, and will impose a 9% tax on all adult-use cannabis sales. The legislation also renames Maryland’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to be the Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis Commission, and allows medical cannabis operators to apply for dual licensure to serve both the medical and adult-use markets.

Under the legislation, new dispensaries cannot be located within 500 feet of a pre-existing school, playground, child care center, recreation center, library, or public park, and cannot be within 1,000 feet of another licensed dispensary. Licensed dispensaries are also required to ensure 25% of product shelf space is reserved for social equity licensees.

S.B. 516 also increases the maximum amount of cannabis qualifying medical patients can possess, up to 120 grams of cannabis flower or 36 grams of THC-infused products.

Maryland Cannabis Administration Acting Director Will Tilburg said his agency is “working quickly to implement the legislation and develop Maryland as a model for equity and safety in cannabis regulation,” Maryland Matters reports.

S.B. 516 became law immediately upon Moore’s signature Wednesday, two days after he announced he put nearly $1.2 million of cannabis stocks into a blind trust to prevent a conflict of interest. Maryland’s State Ethics Commission approved the transaction.

“This will ensure the rollout of recreational cannabis in our state drives opportunity in an equitable way,” Moore said of S.B. 516. “The criminalization of marijuana harmed low-income communities and communities of color in a profound way. We want to make sure the legalization of marijuana lifts those communities now in a profound way.”

S.B. 516 was finalized six months after two-thirds of Maryland voters approved Question 4 – a constitutional amendment to legalize adult-use cannabis – in the November 2022 elections. The amendment allows adults 21-and-older to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower and/or 12 grams of concentrate beginning July 1, and also allows for the expungement of past cannabis convictions.

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Zach Mentz

Zach Mentz is an editor at Flavor Fix, covering cannabis, CBD and alcohol news and featured stories. Previously, he worked as senior editor of Cannabis Business Times (CBT). Mentz is a graduate of the Tim Russert Department of Communication at John Carroll University.

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