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Recreational cannabis will be legal this weekend in Maryland.
by Rowan Nathan · June 28, 2023
Recreational cannabis will be legal this weekend in Maryland. Democratic Governor Wes Moore signed legislation that creates licensing and tax rates to open a recreational marijuana market on July 1, 2023, making Maryland the 20th state, with Washington, D.C., to have legalized cannabis.
Adults 21 years of age and older will be able to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of bud. Up to 2.5 ounces of pot will no longer register a criminal charge, but rather a fine of $250.
Proponents including the Bill's sponsor Jazz Lewis, D-Prince George's, argued the bill would take the production of cannabis away from the streets and illicit market, to ensure safer products, while creating jobs, helping local small business, and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue for local and state governments.
The legislation also calls for a process to expunging all criminal cases in which possession of fewer than 10 grams of cannabis is the only charge according to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Existing Maryland medical cannabis license holders who chose to convert will be authorized to cultivate, manufacture, or dispense cannabis or cannabis products for adult-use consumers and qualifying patients and caregivers. There will be additional licenses available with priority given to minority owners in communities that have been negatively impacted by past pot laws. The tax rate for equity license holders will be 9%.
Existing Maryland medical cannabis license holders who chose NOT to convert will be required to cease operations.
Recreational weed delivery in Baltimore and throughout Maryland will only become available roughly a year later in June of 2024. Medical cannabis delivery has been legal and will continue to be legal for medical patients to receive. So there will be roughly a one year gap where recreational weed delivery will not be available to weed-ready adults within the Terrapin State.
The ballot measure that led to Legalization in Maryland was Question 4, which passed 67.2 percent to 32.8 percent in October of 2022. The "Yes On 4" Campaign, was chaired by former Baltimore Raven All Pro offensive lineman Eugene Monroe. Monroe is one of several former NFL stars to advocate for new drug laws and enter the cannabis space. Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, and Ricky Williams are among the notable former NFLers to actively run cannabis companies.
Recently the NFL abruptly changed its formerly draconian policy toward weed under pressure from former and current players regarding its policy on head injuries and painkiller abuse. The resulting current NFL marijuana policy is basically not to test for it. Former players like Monroe have made it known that most NFL players consume cannabis for their pain, inflammation, and general relaxation after bashing their heads for three hours on a Sunday...sometimes a Monday.
After Maryland, three more States are set to launch legal sales by 2025, when there are currently set to be at least 23 States with recreationally legal weed.