Maryland is inching closer to plans to establish an adult-use cannabis market after several amendments were made to fix potential problems.
Voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum last year to legalize possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis for adults, which will be legalized on July 1. However, the state has yet to implement a final rule on how to regulate the market.
On Monday, Maryland’s Senate Finance Committee released their version of Congress. Senate Bill 516, a bill to establish the state’s adult market, with several amendments. For example, the planned administrative agency will no longer be merged with state alcohol and tobacco control agencies.
The commission voted to create an independent Maryland Cannabis Authority to regulate the adult-use industry. It operates separately from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. Both the original Senate and House bills proposed including the Cannabis Commission as a division within the existing Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, but that plan fell through.
Lawmakers also tweaked the tax system. Instead of implementing a tiered sales tax that starts at 6% and eventually increases to 10% by 2028, increasing by 1% each year, when cannabis is legalized to adults on July 1st, The state implements a flat 9% sales tax.
Baltimore Sun report That the bill is heading into the final stages before it is sent to the governor.
“We need to get along with the governor,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Melonie Griffiths said at a committee meeting.
House version of the bill, House Bill 556, It moved forward earlier this month, awaiting a full vote by the Senate.
DCist report Both the House and Senate versions are intended to address issues related to the development of the state’s medical cannabis industry. I suffered setbacks. Not a single black-owned business was included in the first round of licenses, even though blacks made up nearly a third of the state’s population when the industry finally opened. I did.
Adult marches in Maryland use cannabis
Voters approved Question 4, or the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, on November 8, 2022. Passage of this initiative amends the Maryland Constitution with Article 20 to permit the possession and consumption of cannabis by adults 21 and older beginning July 1, 2023. The amendment also directed the Maryland legislature to “regulate the use, distribution, possession, regulation, and taxation of cannabis within the state.”
Two related bills to award licenses, regulate the sale of cannabis and set tax rates were introduced in both the Maryland House and Senate on February 3. Maryland Representatives Vanessa Atterbeary (D-13th) and CT Wilson (D-28th) sponsored the House bill, while Senators Brian Feldman (D-15th) and Antonio Hayes (D-40) sponsored the Senate bill.
The next round of new licenses for growers, processors and distributors will roll out to social equity applicants on January 1, 2024. This is defined as someone who lived in or attended school in an area unduly affected by the war on drugs. Another round of licensing will roll out after May 1, 2024.
The plan will allow licenses for up to 300 pharmacies, 100 processors and 75 producers. Smaller micro businesses will be granted additional licenses for 200 pharmacies, 100 processors and 100 producers.
The Senate bill has now been moved to the Budget and Taxation Committee, after which it will be voted on by the Senate.