Maryland Legislators Agree to Coalesce Marijuana Sales Bill

Lawmakers from Maryland’s House and Senate have reached concurrence on legislation that would establish rules and regulations for the state’s legal marijuana industry.

Last week Maryland’s Senate, in a 32 to 12 vote, passed a measure that would allow licensed marijuana sales to everyone 21 and older. Although Senate Bill 516 already passed the House of Representatives, the two chambers made slight amendments that resulted in the two version needing to be coalesced into one proposal.

Lawmakers were successful in accomplishing this as the House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee agreed on one unified measure. The legislation is expected to receive final votes in the House and Senate by Monday, the final day of the session.

Senate Bill 516 is needed given voters approved an initiative in November to legalize recreational marijuana. The initiative tasked the legislature to establish rules for the legal marijuana industry, with sales allowed to begin on July 1.

Once the measure receives its final votes on Monday, it will be sent to Governor Wes Moore who is expected to sign it into law.

Under Senate Bill 516 a newly created Maryland Cannabis Administration would be tasked with industry regulations, while a Division of Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement would be in charge of reviewing, approving and issuing licenses for marijuana businesses. Marijuana would be taxed at 9%, with medical marijuana patients exempt. The law also increases the number of plants a patient can grow from two to four.

Current medical marijuana dispensaries would be given the option of paying a fee for a “dual license” in order to start selling recreational marijuana by July 1 of this year. License approval for new marijuana businesses would need to begin by July 1, 2024.

Localities would not be allowed to establish their own marijuana tax, and would also not be allowed to ban medical marijuana businesses that convert to a dual license in order to serve medical and recreational consumers.

Update: Maryland’s House and Senate on Saturday gave final approval to Senate Bill 516, sending it to the desk of Governor Wes Moore.

Thank you for reading The Marijuana Herald! You can sign up for our weekly newsletter at the form below, and you can find more news stories by clicking here.