Recreational Cannabis FAQs
In response to the voters’ approval of adult-use legalization (Question 4 on the 2022 ballot), the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 556 and Senate Bill 516. These bills establish a framework for selling recreational marijuana in Maryland beginning on July 1, 2023. The legislation has been presented to the Governor and, as an emergency bill, will take immediate effect upon the Governor’s signature.
Here are some of the critical provisions of the legalization implementation bill:
- Adults 21 and older can possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana and grow two cannabis plants at home.
- Recreational marijuana will be taxed at a rate of 9%.
- The Maryland Cannabis Control Authority will regulate the recreational marijuana market.
The passage of the legalization implementation bill is a significant step forward for Maryland. It will create a new source of tax revenue for the state and provide economic opportunities for businesses and individuals in the cannabis industry. It will also allow adults to enjoy marijuana responsibly and safely.
HB556/SB516, the Maryland Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, legalizes the adult use of cannabis in Maryland. The bill was passed by the Maryland General Assembly on April 7, 2023, and signed into law by Governor Hogan on April 11, 2023. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2023.
Here are some of the critical provisions of HB556/SB516:
- Adults 21 and older can possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and grow up to two cannabis plants at home.
- Recreational cannabis will be taxed at a rate of 9%.
- The Maryland Cannabis Control Authority will regulate the recreational cannabis market.
The passage of HB556/SB516 is a significant step forward for Maryland. It will create a new source of tax revenue for the state and provide economic opportunities for businesses and individuals in the cannabis industry. It will also allow adults to enjoy cannabis responsibly and safely.
In addition to the above, HB556/SB516 also does the following:
- Allows existing medical cannabis dispensaries to sell to adult consumers on July 1 if they convert their license.
- Authorizes the Maryland Cannabis Administration to issue additional grower, processor, dispensary licenses, and new incubator licenses over two licensing rounds.
Starting July 1, 2023, adults 21 and older can purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries in Maryland. A list of licensed dispensaries will be available on the Maryland Cannabis Control Authority website.
The following cannabis products will be available for purchase:
Cannabis products will be subject to a 9% sales tax.
To purchase cannabis products, you must:
- Be 21 years of age or older
- Display a valid government-issued photo ID
- Purchase up to the personal use amount authorized under the law
The personal use amount for cannabis is 1.5 ounces.
The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) will regulate the expanded medical and adult-use cannabis industry in Maryland. The MCA is a new agency created by HB 556 and SB 516, the Maryland Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act. The MCA will be responsible for issuing licenses to cannabis businesses, ensuring that cannabis products are safe and of high quality, and collecting taxes on cannabis sales.
The MCA will be led by a board of directors appointed by the Governor of Maryland. The board will be responsible for setting policies and procedures for the MCA and overseeing the agency’s day-to-day operations.
The MCA will have several resources to regulate the cannabis industry. These resources include:
- A team of inspectors will visit cannabis businesses to ensure that they comply with the regulations
- A laboratory that will test cannabis products for safety and quality
- A data collection system that will track cannabis sales and tax revenue
The MCA will work closely with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to ensure a smooth transition from the medical cannabis program to the adult-use cannabis program. The MMCC will provide continuity of operations for businesses and patients in the medical program, and the MCA will adopt new regulations governing health, safety, and security that are supplemental to the existing medical cannabis program regulations.
The legalization of adult-use cannabis will have a limited impact on the medical cannabis program in Maryland. Patients can still obtain medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries, and individuals 18 years or older may register to participate in the program. The new law explicitly established patient-only operating hours, product availability, and other accommodations to ensure that registered patients continue to be able to access necessary medication.
Here are some of the ways that the legalization of adult-use cannabis may impact the medical cannabis program:
- Increased competition: The legalization of adult-use cannabis will create a new market for cannabis products, which may lead to increased competition for medical cannabis dispensaries. This could lead to lower prices and a wider variety of products for medical cannabis patients.
- Increased demand: The legalization of adult-use cannabis may also lead to increased demand for medical cannabis products. This could lead to longer wait times and shortages of certain products.
- Changes to regulations: The Maryland Cannabis Control Authority (MCA) may need to change the rules governing the medical cannabis program to accommodate the legalization of adult-use cannabis. These changes could include new regulations for patient identification, product labeling, and advertising.
Overall, the legalization of adult-use cannabis is unlikely to impact the medical cannabis program in Maryland significantly. Patients will still be able to obtain the medical cannabis they need, and the MCA will work to ensure that the program continues to operate smoothly.
Yes, Maryland voters approved Question 4 on the 2022 ballot, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. The law went into effect on July 1, 2023.
Under the new law, adults 21 and older can possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana flower, 12 grams of concentrated marijuana, or a total amount of marijuana products that do not exceed 750 mg THC. This amount is known as the “personal use amount.”
The law also allows adults 21 and older to grow two marijuana plants at home.
Recreational marijuana is now taxed at a rate of 9%. The revenue from this tax will be used to fund public health and safety programs and provide grants to minority-owned businesses in the cannabis industry.
Legalizing recreational marijuana in Maryland is a significant step forward for the state. It will create a new source of tax revenue, provide economic opportunities for businesses and individuals in the cannabis industry, and allow adults to enjoy marijuana responsibly and safely.
In addition to legalizing adult use of cannabis for people 21 years of age and older, the referendum passed in Maryland also does the following:
- Establishes a process to expunge all records of convictions for possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis.
- Increases the amount of cannabis a person can possess without facing criminal charges from 10 grams to 2.5 ounces.
- The state must collect data and conduct studies on cannabis use, impaired driving, and other health and safety issues.
- Establishes a Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council to make recommendations to the Maryland General Assembly on cannabis regulation.
- Creates three new funds: * A public health fund to address the health effects of adult-use cannabis. * A business assistance fund to help small, minority, and women-owned businesses participate in the cannabis industry. * A community reinvestment and repair fund to provide resources to communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and enforcement.
The passage of this referendum is a significant step forward for Maryland. It will create a new source of tax revenue, provide economic opportunities for businesses and individuals in the cannabis industry, and allow adults to enjoy cannabis responsibly and safely.
Yes, cannabis is still illegal under federal law. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA) classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. This means that it is illegal to grow, sell, or possess cannabis for any reason under federal law.
However, many states have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational use. These state laws conflict with federal law, but the federal government has generally chosen not to enforce federal law in states that have legalized cannabis. This has created a patchwork of laws, where cannabis is legal in some places but not others.
It is important to note that even in states where cannabis is legal, it is still illegal to transport cannabis across state lines. This is because federal law still prohibits the interstate transport of cannabis. Additionally, cannabis possession is still unlawful on federal land, even within states that have legalized it. This includes federal buildings, national parks, and military bases.
The federal government’s non-enforcement of cannabis laws in states that have legalized it will likely continue for the foreseeable future. However, it is possible that the federal government could change its policy in the future. If this happens, it could significantly impact the cannabis industry.
No, it is illegal for convenience stores or gas stations to sell THC products in Maryland. The Maryland General Assembly passed HB 566 and SB 516 in 2022, establishing a regulatory framework for the adult-use cannabis industry in Maryland. This legislation limits the sale of THC products to licensed cannabis dispensaries.
The law allows exceptions, such as selling full-spectrum tinctures with less than 2.5mg of THC per package. However, these exceptions are narrow and do not apply to most THC products.
If you see THC products being sold at a convenience store or gas station, these products are likely illegal. You should not purchase these products, as you could be subject to legal penalties.
If you want to purchase THC products, you should do so from a licensed cannabis dispensary. The state regulates these dispensaries and ensures their products are safe and high-quality.
The legal age to use or possess cannabis in Maryland is 21 years old. This age requirement went into effect on July 1, 2023.
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use or possess cannabis. If you are caught using or having cannabis as a minor, you could face civil or criminal penalties.
If you are 21 or older, you can possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or a total amount of cannabis products that do not exceed 750 mg THC. You are also allowed to grow up to two cannabis plants at home.
It is important to note that cannabis is still illegal under federal law. This means it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines or to possess cannabis on federal property.
If you are over the age of 21 years, you do not need a medical card to purchase cannabis. A medical card is required to buy medical cannabis in Maryland. The state’s medical cannabis program is regulated by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA). To be eligible for the program, patients must have a qualifying condition, such as cancer, chronic pain, or HIV/AIDS. Once approved for the program, patients can purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries.
No, Maryland does not have reciprocity with other states’ medical cannabis programs. This means that registered patients in another state’s medical cannabis program cannot use their card to purchase cannabis in Maryland. However, out-of-state patients at least 21 years old and with a government-issued ID can purchase adult-use cannabis from licensed dispensaries in Maryland beginning July 1, 2023. Interstate transport of cannabis is still prohibited under federal law.
No, the military is not exempt from the age requirement. Only persons aged 21 years or older may use or possess non-medical cannabis. Other federal restrictions on the use or possession of cannabis may apply to members of the military.
Adults 21 years and older can legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, up to 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or a total amount of cannabis products that do not exceed 750 mg of THC. It is important to note that this is the personal use amount. Any amount above this is considered a violation of the law.
Yes, there are penalties for underage use and possession of cannabis. A person under 21 may not possess or use non-medical cannabis. Possession of 2.5 ounces or less (a civil use amount) may result in a fine, a court order to attend drug education programming, and a referral for substance use disorder assessment and/or treatment. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces may result in criminal penalties.
Yes, it will be legal for adults 21 years and older to grow up to two cannabis plants at home, out of public view. Landlords and property owners can prohibit growing cannabis on their properties.
Cannabis use is prohibited in the following places:
- Public places, including parks, streets, sidewalks, bars, restaurants, and public transportation.
- Motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, buses, and trains.
- Federal property, such as national parks.
It is important to note that cannabis use is still illegal under federal law, even in states where it is legal for recreational use. This means that you cannot possess or use cannabis on any federal property, even in a state where it is legal.
The legislation does not address cannabis use or impairment in the workplace. This means employers are still free to prohibit cannabis use on their property, even if it is legal for recreational use in the state. Employers may also still drug test employees for cannabis use.
Parents should know that cannabis use can harm the health and well-being of youth and young adults. Cannabis use may permanently affect the developing brain, especially with regular or heavy use. Parents, caregivers, and trusted adults should discourage youth and young adults from using cannabis. They should also:
- Not consume cannabis in front of children or young adults
- Always keep cannabis out of sight and locked if it is stored in the home
The new law keeps our roads safe by prohibiting cannabis use in a motor vehicle (by a driver or passenger) and impaired driving. Law enforcement officers can make a cannabis DUI arrest if they observe impairment using a standard field sobriety testing (roadside test) method.
Yes, there are health risks associated with adult-use cannabis. The health impacts of cannabis use are not entirely known, but studies have linked cannabis use, widespread use, with:
- Cannabis use disorder and addiction
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Irritation or inflammation in the lining of the lungs
- Secondhand cannabis smoke, which may contain many of the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke
No, it is not safe to use cannabis during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Much is unknown about the short and long-term effects of cannabis use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend NOT using cannabis (including CBD) while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Using alcohol and cannabis simultaneously can result in more significant impairment than using either alone, leading to a greater risk of personal harm. Tobacco and cannabis, used together, increase your exposure to chemicals that may harm the lungs and cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Cannabis may alter the effects and/or potency of prescription medication. Always talk with your doctor about any medications you are taking or thinking about taking and the possible side effects when mixed with other substances, including cannabis.