The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) announced Sept. 8 that regulators will open the first application round for adult-use cannabis business licenses Nov. 13.
This first application round, reserved exclusively for social equity applicants, is meant to issue more than 175 standard and micro cannabis grower, processor and dispensary licenses.
The Maryland Office of Social Equity released eligibility requirements for social equity applicants earlier this month. To qualify, an applicant must have at least 65% ownership of the business and must have lived or attended public school in an area disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition or attended a four-year institution of higher education in Maryland where at least 40% of students enrolled were eligible for a Pell Grant.
The MCA has opened the Social Equity Verification Portal, which provides additional information about social equity applicant eligibility requirements and allows applicants to confirm their eligibility before the application period opens.
The application round will be open for 30 days, from Nov. 13 to Dec. 12. All applicants who meet the minimum requirements for licensure will be entered into a random lottery based on license type and county or region. Maryland’s Cannabis Reform Act mandates that the MCA conduct the lottery by Jan. 1, 2024.
“Today’s announcement is another step forward in fulfilling Maryland’s commitment to building an equitable and inclusive cannabis industry,” MCA Acting Director Will Tilburg said in a public statement. “This application round will more than double the number of cannabis businesses in the state, and each award will be to a verified social equity applicant.”
Maryland voters approved an adult-use cannabis legalization measure in the November 2022 election, and Gov. Wes Moore signed the Cannabis Reform Act of 2023 into law in May to implement the program.
Maryland’s medical cannabis licensees launched the state’s first adult-use sales July 1 and have since been serving the market until new licenses are issued.
In the first application round, the state plans to make the following number of licenses available by license type and geographic area, according to the MCA’s announcement:
For the remaining license types, the state will be divided into the following four regions:
Four standard grower and eight standard processor licenses will be available per region in the first application round, as well as six micro processor and two micro dispensary licenses per region.
This content was originally published here.