Maryland’s Cannabis Industry Surpasses $1.1 Billion in First Year

After the Governor legalized marijuana last July, the cannabis industry is now a billion dollar industry foretelling more economic progress for Maryland

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Maryland has generated over $1.1 billion dollars from Marijuana total medical and adult-use retail sales since it legalized cannabis on July 1, 2023. Governor Wes Moore announced to the public yesterday, July 3, 2024.

“Our new adult-use cannabis market isn’t only generating extraordinary economic activity – it’s also helping us build new pathways to work, wages, and wealth for all,” he said. “Making Maryland more competitive means ensuring that everyone can reap the benefits of Maryland’s economic growth. This important milestone proves how our administration continually – and repeatedly – honors our deep commitment to that mission.”

Recall that the first black governor of Maryland pardoned 175,000 marijuana convictions in an equal justice move that abated injustice in the criminalization of cannabis that has now proven to be a good source to improve Maryland’s economy

Governor Moore and Hope Wiseman

The Maryland Cannabis Administration reported that monthly retail sales exceeded $95 million in June, while the adult-use market accounted for more than $67 million. Since the legalization for adult consumers, adult-use sales totaled over $700 million, while medical sales reached nearly $400 million.

Maryland Cannabis Administration Director Will Tilburg expressed pride in the collaborative efforts to implement a safe and equitable market while building a new regulatory agency. He anticipates an even more exciting year ahead as new social equity businesses bring innovation to the Maryland market.

In this first year, Maryland has passed several milestones in the regulation and oversight of cannabis. It administered the first cannabis business licensing round in the nation exclusively reserved for social equity applicants. Of the 205 selected applicants, 53.7% reported majority Black or African American ownership, and 76.2% reported majority minority ownership. These new businesses are set to more than double the number of licensed cannabis operations in the state.

The state established the first state-managed cannabis reference laboratory in the nation to oversee cannabis-related activities, which is managed by a state cannabis regulatory agency. Over $40 million in fees were collected from licensed cannabis businesses to support the Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund. This fund provides direct funding to local jurisdictions for community-based initiatives benefiting low-income communities and those disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization.

In collaboration with the Maryland Department of Labor, a first-of-its-kind Cannabis Workforce Development Program was created. The program prioritizes training for individuals with a history of cannabis-related offenses. Additionally, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health, a comprehensive campaign called “BeCannabisSmart” was launched to promote safe and responsible cannabis use. The campaign aims to educate the public on crucial topics such as the dangers of drugged driving, smoke-free spaces, and safe storage of cannabis products.

The state also introduced a “Medical and Adult-Use Data Dashboard,” which provides public access to key program and industry metrics. As the medical and adult-use industry expanded, the Maryland Cannabis Administration grew from approximately 50 staff members to over 100 to meet the additional responsibilities.

To ensure economic opportunity and equity in Maryland’s adult-use cannabis market, an independent executive agency called the Office of Social Equity was established. The state hosted several sessions, including technical assistance, financial forecasting, and application writing clinics, to support aspiring cannabis business applicants, with over 2,700 registered participants across these events.

The state received more than 1,250 responses regarding potential uses of the Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund, with 74% expressing strong support for reinvesting cannabis tax revenue into communities disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs.

Office of Social Equity Executive Director Audrey Johnson highlighted the milestones as a reflection of the dedication to creating equitable cannabis policies. She emphasized the office’s commitment to ensuring that all Marylanders benefit from this growing market and expressed gratitude to her team for their efforts in supporting diverse individuals and businesses in the state’s cannabis economy.

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