Maryland legal marijuana sales reached a record high of $87.4 million in July, the first month since the recreational market launched, state data shows.
That more than doubles the sales totals for June, when medical cannabis dispensaries were only serving patients. About 100 of those existing dispensaries were cleared to service adult consumers starting July 1. The previous monthly record for medical-only purchases was just over $50 million.
In the first weekend of adult-use sales alone, the state yielded over $10 million in combined medical and recreational purchases. The first full week saw about $21 million. And that trend sustained through the rest of the month, ending with $87.43 million sold in July, according to the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA).
The lion’s share of the sales involved cannabis flower, which exceeded $50 million. That was followed by concentrates, infused edibles, infused non-edibles, shake trim and plants.
MCA’s Andrew Garrison said last month that the state was uniquely prepared for the implementation of the marijuana legalization law, which followed deep study from lawmakers and voter approval of a reform initiative at the ballot last year.
Garrison also stressed the importance of ensuring that equity is a “really key component of everything going forward.” To that end, the legalization law created a new independent Office of Social Equity within MCA to focus on it. Gov. Wes Moore (D) made a first series of appointments to that office last month.
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Also, the state Department of Commerce (DOC) announced last month that it will be opening applications for $40 million in grant funding to social equity applicants with pre-approval starting on August 1.
Regulators have already been accepting applications to provide grants through the same fund to help existing medical marijuana businesses convert into dual licensees that can serve the adult-use market.
As regulators assess the first month of recreational marijuana sales, Garrison said officials are also actively working on a “cleanup bill” to adjust regulations that he expects will be taken up by the legislature during the next session.
MCA will be holding what it describes as “limited town halls” with stakeholder groups, including dispensaries, growers and patient advocates in late summer and early fall to develop permanent regulations. That process will also involve public comment periods once the draft rules are ready to be published.
Meanwhile, a separate Maryland law also took effect last month that prevents police from using the odor or possession of marijuana alone as the basis of a search. Yet another law that went into force makes it so the lawful and responsible use of cannabis by parents and guardians cannot be construed by state officials as child “neglect.”