Maryland marijuana sales totaled more than $10 million this past holiday weekend as retail sales for adult consumers launched across the state, the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) reported.
From Friday through Sunday, collective recreational and medical cannabis purchases reached $10,429,736—which is more than double the $3,985,527 in medical marijuana sales that the state saw during last year’s 4th of July holiday weekend.
For the first official day of adult-use sales on Saturday, Maryland sold $4,518,377 worth of cannabis—the vast majority of which ($3,558,947) came from recreational marijuana purchases. Medical cannabis sales, meanwhile, totaled $959,430 for the day.
“We are now entering a new frontier in the history of our country,” Gov. Wes Moore (D) said in a video statement posted on the first day of adult-use marijuana sales. “In the past, cannabis policy has been used as a cudgel to jail and discriminate against our fellow citizens, and especially low income communities and communities of color. It’s time that we said the truth: the war on drugs didn’t just fail, it made us weaker as a nation.”
Maryland, starting today, recreational cannabis is officially legal for adults in our state.
We are writing a new chapter in the story of cannabis in America. One that will lift communities harmed by criminalization and build a more competitive and more equitable economy. pic.twitter.com/UeIWx8w96L
— Governor Wes Moore (@GovWesMoore) July 1, 2023
“I’m proud to say that we in Maryland are helping to write a new chapter of the story of cannabis in America—a chapter that’s focused on economic growth and equity, a chapter that remembers the historic damage done by criminalization and strives to right that wrong, and not just through rhetoric, but through actions,” he said.
Nearly 100 of the state’s existing medical cannabis dispensaries were approved for dual licensing to serve adult consumers. And MCA also said it has collected more than $15 million in licensing conversion fees from those facilities that will be distributed to community reinvestment funds. It plans to provide another $45 million from those fees over the next 18 months.
“This is Maryland’s time to lead in this new space—our time to forge new partnerships between our government and our people, our time to create an economy that is more competitive, while also being more equitable, and it’s our time to get this right while we do right,” Moore, who signed cannabis regulatory legislation into law following voter approval of a legalization ballot referendum, said.
In addition to the 95 medical cannabis dispensaries that were approved for adult-use sales, MCA announced last week that it had approved 42 cultivators and manufacturers to supply the new market.
In May, MCA released a first batch of rules for the industry to the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR), a key step to stand up the industry that launched on Saturday.
The 41-page document sets definitions, codifies personal possession limits, lays out responsibilities for regulators, explains licensing protocol—including for social equity applicants, clarifies enforcement authorities and penalties and outlines packaging and labeling requirements.
Last month, the state Department of Commerce (DOC) started accepting applications for grants to help existing medical marijuana businesses convert into dual licensees that can serve the adult-use market.
Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.
Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.
The ballot measure and subsequent regulations legislation that the governor signed was partly a product of extensive work from bipartisan and bicameral lawmakers who were part of House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup, which was formed in 2021 by Speaker Adrienne Jones (D).
Members held numerous meetings to inform future regulations following Maryland voters’ approval of a legalization referendum during last year’s election, which triggered the implementation of complementary legislation covering rules for basic policies like possession and low-level home cultivation.
Parts of the referendum took effect at the beginning of this year. Possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis became a civil offense, punishable by a $100 fine, with a $250 fine in place for more than 1.5 ounces and up to 2.5 ounces.
Adult-use legalization began to advance through Maryland’s legislature in the 2021 session, but no votes were ultimately held. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing that year on a legalization bill, which followed a House Judiciary Committee hearing on a separate cannabis proposal.
Maryland legalized medical cannabis through an act of the legislature in 2012. Two years later, a decriminalization law took effect that replaced criminal penalties for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana with a civil fine of $100 to $500.
Meanwhile, a separate law also took effect on Saturday that prevents police from using the odor or possession of marijuana alone as the basis of a search. Yet another law going 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.”