The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MAA) has announced that the first application round for cannabis business licenses is now open.
This first round of cannabis business licenses will be awarded exclusively to social equity applicants.
MAA has stated that more than 179 licenses will be available, including:
- 75 Standard Dispensaries
- 16 Standard Growers
- 32 Standard Processors
- 24 Micro Growers
- 24 Micro Processors
- Eight Micro Dispensaries
The MAA has set out its definitions for a social equity applicant, with applicants having to have at least 65% ownership and control held by one or more individuals who lived or went to public school in an area disproportionately impacted by the criminalisation of cannabis to be eligible.
Alternatively, applicants may have attended a four-year institution of higher education in Maryland where at least 40% of enrollees were eligible for a Pell Grant.
Additionally, it has stated that any individual submitting an application “may only be associated with one application per license type, and no more than two applications within a given round.”
Applicants are also prohibited from submitting an application for the same license type in two different regions.
Speaking at the time of the announcement, Maryland Cannabis Administration Acting Director Will Tilburg, stated: “This application round will more than double the number of cannabis businesses in the State, and each award will be to a verified social equity applicant.”
The application round will be open until December 12 and applicants that are eligible will be placed in a randomised lottery based on license type and county or region for which the application was submitted, with the lottery beginning on or before 1 January, 2024.
The second round of applications is expected to launch after 1 May, 2024.