MACo’s Fall Symposium: Cannabis & Counties: Discussions on Public Health, Workforce, Land Use, & Revenue

Every year, MACo hosts a one-day symposium for county officials and professionals to dive deeply into a hot topic. The 2023 Fall Symposium will be held on October 19 and will focus on how the legalization of adult use cannabis affects public health, workforce, land use and revenue in the counties.

2023 MACo Fall Symposium

Cannabis & Counties: Discussions on Public Health, Workforce, Land Use, & Revenue

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2023  Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Location: Anne Arundel County Professional, Firefighters Local 1563
(8684 Veterans Highway 4th Floor, Millersville, MD 21108)

Attire: Business Casual


In 2022 the voters of Maryland decided overwhelmingly to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis. Following that vote, the General Assembly passed legislation laying the groundwork for what is expected to become a vibrant industry. This legislation also left open some major questions for counties…What public health programs are needed to educate communities and how will they be funded? What does this mean for drug free workplaces – especially considering that the federal government still considers cannabis illegal?  What powers remain for counties to regulate where these businesses can operate in our communities, and what does cannabis mean for local revenues? Through the course of this symposium, experts will walk through these challenges, identifying the current state of play and discuss areas to improve upon in future legislative sessions.


9:30 am – 10:00 am Check-in and Coffee
10:00 am Welcome and Introductions
10:00 am – 10:45 am Public Health Strategies for Adult-Use Cannabis
Public health officials carry the responsibility of ensuring residents are educated effectively, protected, and provided appropriate services for a wide range of health situations and conditions, including substance use disorders. With the passage of adult-use cannabis in Maryland, county health officials are faced with the added challenge of educating the public around safe recreational use of a previously (and still federally) illegal substance. These plans and strategies require a significant amount of staff resources and county funding to implement…and the timeline is short – especially with the adult-use cannabis market set for almost 200% market growth over the next couple years. In this session, public health experts will discuss what programs must be established and funded to educate and serve Maryland residents and families as adult-use cannabis becomes more mainstream.
10:45 am – 11:00 am Break
11:00 am – 11:45 pm Communities and Cannabis: Public Safety Components of the Adult-Use Market
Research shows adult-use cannabis can have a number of public safety implications for communities across the state. With the recreational market surging, public safety officials must strategize to keep communities protected from adverse outcomes as new and even accidental users explore cannabis use in Maryland. Public safety officials will discuss how their procedures are changing to work within the new regulations as well as what serious challenges are presented that might require new solutions.
11:45am – 12:15pm





Cannabis in the Public Workplace: A Practical View

The new Maryland law allows employers to retain drug-free policies where needed, but workforce use of the newly legal products will raise new issues. On-the-spot testing is not an option, creating a different − and difficult − standard for onsite enforcement, and legal complications may arise in any sort of monitoring/enforcement effort. This moderated discussion will explore the County position, from our role as employers.

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm LUNCH BUFFET
1:00 pm – 1:50pm Cannabis in Your Community: A Look at County Land Use
Maryland’s counties have largely been charged with shaping the look, smell, and feel of the communities that we call home. The 2023 legislation which allowed for the creation of the cannabis industry placed certain limits on local governments’ ability to regulate where these establishments can be located. Many questions remain on the exact intent of the General Assembly, and the exact limit on county authority. An expert panel of cannabis and land use officials will discuss the current state of play, possibilities around regulatory changes, and what may be expected in the 2024 legislative session.
1:50 pm – 2:00 pm Break
2:00 pm – 2:50 pm The Cannabis Landscape: Market Trends, Revenues, and More!
The legalization of adult-use cannabis ushers in a new era of economic opportunity and regulatory challenges. As local governments grapple with the complexities of this emerging sector, it’s critical to understand the local cannabis market, including the latest trends, consumer demographics, revenue projections, and more. And while the General Assembly did impose a 9 percent sales tax on adult-use cannabis, local governments receive a mere 45 cents for a single purchase of $100 of cannabis – the smallest share in the nation. In this session, hear from an expert panel on how latest market trends could impact cannabis tax revenues and why a more commensurate revenue share is critical for unlocking the industry’s economic potential in communities across the state.
2:50 pm – 3:30 pm Wrap-Up / Adjournment


Space is limited, so register ASAP!

(Includes access to the symposium and lunch for 1 person)

  • MACo Members (County/Baltimore City Elected Officials and County Staff) – FREE
  • Maryland General Assembly Members (Senators and Delegates) – FREE
  • NonMembers – contact to be added to the waitlist – if space remains by October 12, we will invite you to register at the rate of $65

Have questions about the symposium? Contact

Interested in sponsoring the symposium and speaking to the attendees? Contact