Adult-Use Cannabis Implementation Timeline
On November 8, 2022, Maryland voters passed a ballot referendum legalizing cannabis use for individuals 21+ on/after July 1, 2023. Below is a timeline of key dates, reports, and studies submitted on the path to legalization.
- July 1, 2023, Purchase and possession of cannabis for personal adult-use becomes legal in Maryland for adults 21+. Existing medical dispensaries permitted to pay a conversion fee and sell both adult-use and medical cannabis. Outreach begins for next round of licensing- first-in-the-nation to focus exclusively on social equity applicants.
- May 3, 2023, Governor Wes Moore signed the Cannabis Reform Act into law, creating a framework for adult-use cannabis in Maryland. The Maryland Cannabis Administration, the successor agency to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, was also established on this date.
- April 8, 2023, The Maryland General Assembly passed the Cannabis Reform Act (HB556/SB516) which will become effective as soon as signed by Governor Moore. The legislation allows for cannabis sales to adults 21+ from licensed dispensaries and establishes the legal framework for adult-use cannabis sales beginning July 1, 2023, including conversion of existing medical cannabis business licensees to both medical and adult-use cannabis. A new Maryland Cannabis Administration will oversee both the medical and adult-use programs.
- March 1, 2023, MMCC submitted the statutorily-required Maryland Cannabis Use Baseline Study to the Maryland General Assembly. This report provided a “first look” at cannabis use in Maryland prior to legalization. As directed in statute, data was collected from multiple state agencies and included large population-based surveys, surveys of special populations (e.g., medical cannabis patients), as well as program-level data (e.g., treatment services data), poison center and hospital-based data.
- March 1, 2023, MMCC released the 2022 Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient Survey (MMCPS-22) Report, which detailed the methods and results of the first cycle of a two-phase study. The study was designed to examine patterns of use, perceptions of risk and benefit, and occurrence of high-risk behaviors related to cannabis use in the medical cannabis patient population. The intent of the study was to obtain data on medical cannabis use to help inform future programmatic and policy efforts and ensure the safe use of cannabis in Maryland. In total, this survey analyzed data from over 13,000 medical cannabis patients in Maryland and was the largest of its kind to-date. The second wave of the survey (MMCPS-23), to assess ongoing and changing patient perceptions and behaviors, is scheduled to be implemented in fall 2023.
- December 30, 2022, MMCC submitted the statutorily-required report on Hemp-Derived Non-Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Products to the Maryland General Assembly. Chapters 511 and 512 of the Acts of 2022 required the MMCC to study and make recommendations on the classification and regulation of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), other than delta-9-THC, that are artificially, synthetically, or naturally derived and manufactured products containing delta-8 and delta-10-THC. MMCC conducted this study in consultation with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Maryland Hemp Coalition, the Maryland State Police - Forensic Sciences Division, U.S. Cannabis Council, and the Maryland Healthy Alternatives Association. MMCC also held a series of public meetings to gain input from stakeholders in Maryland’s existing medical cannabis industry, testing laboratories, and other State partners at the Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Food Protection and the Maryland Poison Center.
- November 8, 2022, Maryland voters passed “Question 4” by ballot referendum, making it legal for individuals aged 21 and older to possess and consume cannabis in Maryland on or after July 1, 2023. The amendment passed with approximately 67 percent of Marylanders voting in favor of legalization. MMCC posted FAQs providing information on what the new law does and does not mean for Marylanders, including use and possession limits and public health and safety considerations.
- November 1, 2022, MMCC submitted the statutorily-required study on Cannabis Reform: Best Practices for a Medical Cannabis Home Grow Program, On-site Cannabis Consumption Facilities, and Methods to Reduce Cannabis Use by Minors to the Maryland General Assembly.
- April 9, 2022, The companion bill to House Bill 1, House Bill 837 (2022) Cannabis Reform, is passed, laying the groundwork for a legal adult-use cannabis program and required the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to conduct several studies, including a baseline study of cannabis use in the State. HB837 set personal use and civil use limits, home grow limits, established community reinvestment programs, a Public Health Advisory Council, cannabis business assistance funds, and a plan to transition MMCC staff to the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission (ATC).
- April 9, 2022, House Bill 1 (2022) Constitutional Amendment – Cannabis – Adult Use and Possession, is passed by the Maryland General Assembly. This bill required a constitutional amendment (“Question 4") to be placed on the ballot during the November 2022 General Election asking voters, “Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on/after July 1, 2023, in the State of Maryland?