Application round exclusively for social equity applicants opens in November.
The Maryland Cannabis Administration announced that the first application round for cannabis business licenses opens on November 13. More than 175 standard and micro cannabis grower, processor, and dispensary licenses available in the first round are exclusive to social equity applicants.
A social equity applicant is an applicant that has at least 65 percent ownership and control held by one or more individuals who lived or went to public school in an area disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis or attended a four-year institution of higher education in Maryland where at least 40 percent of enrollees were eligible for a Pell Grant.
“Today’s announcement is another step forward in fulfilling Maryland’s commitment to building an equitable and inclusive cannabis industry,” said Maryland MCA Acting Director Will Tilburg. “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.”
As previously reported on Conduit Street, as of July 1, adult-use cannabis is legal under Maryland law. Nearly all existing medical dispensaries (approximately 100 locations statewide) have converted their licenses and can sell medical and adult-use cannabis products to adults 21+ with valid government identification.
Last week, the Office of Social Equity published ZIP codes and public schools within a disproportionately impacted area and the qualifying four-year institutions of higher education. Detailed information on the qualifying geographic areas, public schools, and higher education institutions is available at ose.maryland.gov.
The application round will be open for 30 days, from November 13 to December 12. Any applicant who meets the minimum requirements for licensure on a pass-fail basis will be placed in a randomized lottery based on license type (grower, processor, or dispensary) and county or region for which the application was submitted.
Under the Cannabis Reform Act, the MCA will conduct the lottery on or before January 1, 2024.
Distribution of Standard Dispensary Licenses
Growers, Processors, and Micro Licenses:
For the remaining license types, the state is divided into four regions:
- Western Region: Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Montgomery, and Washington.
- Southern Region: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s.
- Central Region: Baltimore, Baltimore City, Cecil, Harford, and Howard.
- Eastern Region: Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester.
Equal numbers of each of the remaining license types are available:
The OSE also announced the Social Equity Verification Portal for individuals interested in pursuing a cannabis business license, allowing prospective applicants to confirm their social equity status before the license application round opens later this year. Prospective applicants can verify their eligibility using a Social Equity Verification portal, which opened on September 8 and will close before the first licensing round. To request a link to this portal from the MCA, one must complete this form: Cannabis Business Licensing Interest Form.
For more information on the application process and how to access the Social Equity Verification Portal, visit cannabis.maryland.gov.
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