Cannabis License Application FAQs

​​Licensing Eligibility​

What do I need to do before I can apply for a cannabis business license?

The State’s Social Equity Verification Portal closed on November 7, 2023. The ability to request access to this portal closed the day before, on November 6. Individuals who have NOT completed the necessary information, including providing any required supporting documentation as of this date were provided until November 10 at 5PM to complete submission. Verification is required to be considered a social equity applicant for this round of licensure. Individuals who are able to submit all required documents will be provided the full review and verification process by the State’s vendor. In the meantime, you may begin to draft your application using the MCA’s template, and may additionally register for a OneStop account prior to submission of your application. 

Additionally, if you believe you are eligible based on living in a disproportionately impacted area outside of the State of Maryland, you will be required to provide additional information to the MCA.​

Where can I find my Social Equity Verification Number? Do I need to upload my entire report?

Your Verification Number is the same as your Order Number on your report from Creative Services Inc. A sample showing where this order number can be found on the report is on the last page of this attachment. If you wish, you may only upload the first two pages of the report that contain the verification information from CSi.​

I have submitted all of my documents through the verification p​ortal, but I have not yet been verified. Can I still apply?

For individuals who have completed their submission within the portal and are waiting for verification, the State’s vendor is continuing to process such submission. Applicants who are pending verification from the State’s vendor are encouraged to work on other portions of the application, including the Operational Plan, Business Plan, and Diversity Plan, using the templates provided below. Applicants should not attempt to submit an application or pay the application fee prior to being verified through the verification portal. A completed and cleared verification report is a required component of the application. ​

I want to submit an application with my spouse/business partner/neighbor/friend. How many applications can we collectively submit?

An individual, including any owner or investor, may only be featured as an owner on one application per type and no more than two applications total in this round. If an individual or entity is found to be in violation of these restrictions, all applications associated with the individual or entity will not be considered for review by the Administrator. See Attachment B at the bottom of this page to see the combinations of applications that would be permitted.

For the purposes of this application, "Investor" means any individual or entity with any ownership interest in the application, including passive investors as defined in the Alcoholic Beverages and Cannabis Article, 36-101(bb) Annotated Code of Maryland.

What are the restrictions on application submissions? How does this apply to Standard v. Micro applications?

An individual may only be associated with ONE application per license type, and no more than TWO applications within a given licensing round. Additionally, the MCA will not issue any award that would violate statutory restrictions on ownership or control. This means, for example, while you may apply for both a Standard and a Micro Grower license, you may not be awarded both licenses under law. You also may not submit an application for the same license type in two different regions. Any application found to be in violation of these statutory restrictions will not be reviewed by the MCA or eligible for award in the lottery. See Attachment B at the bottom of this page to see the combinations of applications that would be permitted.

If an individual applies for both a micro and standard grower and is chosen for both licenses, what will happen?

​Individuals are prohibited from holding multiple grower or processor licenses. If an individual applies for, and is selected for both a micro and standard grower or processor, the MCA will ask the selected applicant to select which they would like to pursue. 

​Application Submission

How do I submit my application?
All cannabis business license applications will be submitted using the Maryland OneStop portal. Maryland OneStop does require a potential applicant to register an account before accessing any application. From there, you will upload the necessary attachments and complete the required information. If you have not already, you may register for a OneStop account here: https://onestop.md.gov/ ​

How will my application be evaluated? 
The MCA will review applications based on the minimum requirements established on the Evaluation Worksheet. 

What else do I need to prepare my application?

In addition to a business plan, operational plan, and diversity plan, an application must also include the following:
  • A $5,000 or $1,000 non-refundable application fee, depending on the license type ($5,000 for Standard Licenses, $1,000 for Micro Licenses);
  • R​egistration with​ the State Department of Assessments and Taxation for the applicant entity.
  • A verification report from Creative Services, Inc., indicating the applicant(s) who comprise(s) at least 65% ownership and control in the prospective business meet the statutory criteria to be deemed a social equity applicant as established under Alcoholic Beverages and Cannabis Article §36-101, Annotated Code of Maryland;
  • Capitalization table for the prospective licensed entity.
On the Business Plan attachment, Question 4 asks me to provide permits or registrations relevant to the proposed license type. Do I need to have these permits secured prior to submitting my application?

No, Question 4 wants you to simply identify which two (2) specific permits or registrations relevant to the proposed license type that you may need to complete a buildout and conduct authorized activities of the specific license. Examples of this may include, but are not limited to, zoning approval, building permits, fire, trader's license, sales, and use tax registration (applicable to dispensaries only). You do not need to have obtained these licenses or permits at this time. 

How do I pay the application fee?

The application fee is required at the time of application submission. You may use either ACH transfer or credit card within the Maryland OneStop platform. P​​​lease ONLY submit payment within the application portal yourself. Do not provide an application fee to a third party or entity not affiliated with the State​.

Will I need fingerprinting and/or a background check prepared for the application phase? What charges may be potentially disqualifying?

If a passed applicant’s application is selected in the lottery and a passed applicant is awarded a conditional license, they will be required to undergo a criminal history records check in accordance with Alcoholic Beverages and Cannabis Article, §36-505, Annotated Code of Maryland. This involves submitting an application to the Central Repository for a State and national criminal history records check, including two complete sets of fingerprints. This process does not need to be completed as part of the application submission in Maryland OneStop.

The Cannabis Reform Act establishes that an application may be denied if an applicant “has been convicted of, or pleaded nolo contendere to a crime involving moral turpitude…”. For the purposes of this application, crimes of moral turpitude that may be grounds for the denial of an application are ones of dishonesty and include, but are not limited to, felony convictions of:
  • Burglary
  • Embezzlement
  • False Pretense
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Perjury
  • Robbery
  • Theft
  • Treason
Murder and attempted murder are also crimes of moral turpitude for purposes of this application. 

May an application remain confidential? 

All materials submitted in response to an application will be retained by MCA. All pages containing confidential information must be marked “Confidential” and the confidential provisions must be redacted. Applicants are required to submit redacted copies, in addition to unredacted copies, of their application. The MCA is an agency of the State of Maryland and is therefore obligated to comply with the terms of the Maryland Public Information Act ("MPIA"). See Md. Code, Gen'l Prov. §§4-101- 601. Applications are public to the extent required by the MPIA.  

What if I do not have anything to redact as a part of my application? 

Applicants that believe that they do not have anything in the submitted attachments containing confidential information requiring redaction MUST still combine attachments A, B, and C into a single upload within the OneStop portal. Personally identifiable information from applicants driver’s license, or financial information from the capitalization table need not be included and will not be disclosed by the MCA in Public Information Act requests.
How will I know whether my application has met the minimum requirements for licensing?

The MCA will notify applicants of whether their application met the minimum requirements for licensing. An applicant whose application does not meet the minimum requirements will be notified prior to the lottery, and will have ten days to request a records review as established in COMAR 

Is there a difference between an application for a micro license and a standard license application?

No. Applicants will be able to choose which license type they are applying for when they apply, and all applications will be completed using the same templates provided by the MCA. However, responses, workbooks, and capital needs may vary based on the license type and category.

Is there a process to receive technical assistance to complete the application and run a prospective cannabis business? 

On October 2nd, the MCA opened a Virtual Academy for Verified Social Equity Applicants. If you have already been verified as a social equity applicant - you should have received a link from the Virtual Academy’s Canvas Platform. If you have not yet received your link, but have already been verified as a Social Equity Applicant, please contact: MCA.education@maryland.gov 

Additionally, the Office of Social Equity is conducting Technical Assistance seminars throughout the month of October. Information for these events can be found at the Office of Social Equity’s website​

Location of Proposed Business

Am I required to identify the geographic location where I want to operate? If awarded, do I have to operate there? 

Yes. Micro and standard growers, micro and standard processors, and micro dispensaries will identify on their application the region in which they intend to apply and operate. Similarly, standard dispensaries will select the county in which they intend to apply and operate. If selected, applicants may only operate in those areas. For more information on the four regions and distribution of license types across regions and counties, please see the MCA application announcement​. An individual or entity may not be associated with ap​plications submitted for the same license type in multiple counties or regions.

If selected, the applicant may only be able to operate within that region or county. This includes, for micro dispensaries, limiting deliveries to only occur within the region authorized. 

As a reminder, applicants are not required to possess or own property or a facility as part of the application, and the MCA strongly discourages any applicant from securing property or a facility prior to obtaining a conditional award.

I am eligible to apply because I lived or went to school in a disproportionately impacted area in Maryland. Do I need to operate my business in that area or in that county?

No - a qualified social equity applicant may choose to submit an application in any location or region.