Maryland's entry into legalized adult-use cannabis sales on Saturday will draw attention from regulators, lawmakers, law enforcement, and consumers. Joining 20 other states where cannabis is legal to buy, the state is predicted to experience high consumer interest and a thriving business.
Will Tilburg, who is acting director of the Maryland Cannabis Administration said, "I’m excited for the Maryland Cannabis Commission, for the state, for the staff here to see the fruition of their work over the past weeks, months and years," and he went on to state, "We’ve done a lot to inform dispensaries, reminding them of the rules of the road and expectations for this weekend. We want it to be a very safe successful smooth transition to adult use."
Maryland's cannabis market currently serves around 168,000 medical marijuana patients. However, this market is set to expand significantly with the addition of almost 4.5 million residents who are eligible to purchase cannabis starting Saturday.
As the new state law prepares to kick in, the possession of cannabis will be legalized. However, it's important to note that this does not mean cannabis can be used freely everywhere.
Here are the key details about the new law and regulations:
1. Sales for recreational cannabis use are strictly limited to adults aged 21 and older. A valid ID will be required for purchase.
2. Individuals who meet the age requirement can purchase up to 1.5 ounces of raw flower or pre-rolled joints, a maximum of 12 grams of concentrated cannabis for vaping, or edibles with a total THC content not exceeding 750 mg.
3. Public use of cannabis or its consumption on federal property is strictly prohibited. It is also illegal for drivers or passengers in a vehicle to use cannabis.
While the new law provides legal possession, it's crucial to understand and abide by the restrictions to ensure compliance and a safer environment. It's also good to check local laws for consuming cannabis as some areas such as Ocean City have said "NO" to cannabis use.
Remember cash is king! While some dispensaries may accept debit cards, not all do. So, bring your green to ensure a smooth purchase. That's not all...brace yourself for potentially long lines. The industry expects a surge in demand during the initial days and weeks to follow.
Maryland's long-awaited transition to recreational marijuana sales is finally here, nearly ten years after medical sales were legalized. However, unlike other businesses, there won't be any extravagant "midnight" sales to celebrate this milestone. Instead, over 90 dispensaries throughout the state will now be able to freely sell cannabis to adults who are 21 years of age or older.
Nearly all of the dispensaries and a significant number of growers and processors in the state have successfully converted their licenses to accommodate both medical and recreational customers. This transition has generated $15 million, which will be utilized to support the growth of the industry by increasing the number of licenses owned by women and minorities.
Despite this, there is projected to be higher demand than supply, similar to when the state initially introduced medical cannabis sales.
SunMed, a cannabis grower in Cecil County, has responded to rising demand by increasing its product offerings and expanding its operations. President Van Wingerden has adjusted the number of plants grown and invested in additional trucks for more efficient deliveries. He stated, "Our vaults are full."
According to Van Wingerden, shortages of cannabis could persist for two years or longer, resembling the early years of the medical program. However, the market will gradually recover with the support of existing and new licensees he believes.
Supply issues spark debate over black market sellers gaining a foothold in the cannabis industry. Del. C.T. Wilson (D-Charles) and chair of the House Economic Matters Committee voiced his opinion saying, “That’s one of my biggest concerns,” he said, adding that he did not think supply issues “would create any more of an illicit market” than what exists currently.
According to Baltimore County prosecutor, Shellenberger, legalization and the effects it will have on society will need to be watched closely. He went on to say, "If this is supposed to have a positive effect for our society then it would be that the black market goes away and therefore violence goes down."
Maryland's long-awaited transition to recreational marijuana sales is finally here, and it has the potential to positively impact society by reducing violence related to black market activities. Although there are likely going to be shortages of cannabis due to higher demand than supply for a few years, existing licensees as well as new ones will help supply the industry with more products over time.
With proper regulation and enforcement of rules such as age restrictions on purchasing cannabis, this milestone could prove beneficial for both businesses and consumers in the state. It remains important that all stakeholders involved continue monitoring how legalization affects their respective communities so they can ensure safety while allowing people access to legal and safe cannabis products.