Maryland made history this weekend by becoming the latest state to begin recreational marijuana sales. On Saturday, July 1st, Maryland cannabis dispensaries opened their doors for adult-use customers aged 21 and over.
This marks an important milestone in Maryland’s legalization journey—one that many have been eagerly awaiting since November 2022 when voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the state.
With the start of legal recreational sales comes a new wave of regulations and guidelines designed to ensure public safety and promote responsible consumption. Maryland Governor Wes Moore said in WTOP’s DMV Download podcast, “We’re going to add Maryland to the list of the now-almost three dozen states that have moved to do this, but we’re going to make sure we’re doing it responsibly, and we’re going to make sure that the people of Maryland understand what’s happening.”
What is legal under the new law?
Under the new law, adults aged 21 and over are allowed to possess and purchase up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or an equivalent amount of cannabis products that do not exceed 750mg of THC.
Cannabis use is legal in private settings such as homes but is illegal in public places like parks, sidewalks, bars, restaurants, public transportation, and workplaces. It is also unlawful to transport marijuana over state lines—including medical marijuana—or to mail it out of the state.
Home cultivation is allowed for adults aged 21 and older, as long as two plants per household are grown out of public view in a secure location inaccessible to people under 21.
It’s important to note that plants can only be grown on property owned by the grower or with the owner’s permission.
Adults 21 and over are allowed to share cannabis with each other as long as no money or other type of payment is exchanged, and it does not exceed the legal personal use limit. Giving someone more than this amount could lead to criminal charges of possession with intent to distribute, which carries a penalty of three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Where can and cannot recreational marijuana be used?
Marijuana use is permitted in private homes but strictly prohibited in public places such as parks, streets, sidewalks, bars, restaurants, public transportation, and workplaces. It is also illegal to use marijuana on federal property, including national parks.
Regarding driving, Maryland law states that it’s illegal to use marijuana in any form while operating or occupying a vehicle – whether you’re the driver or the passenger. Police officers can make a cannabis DUI arrest if they observe impairment using a standard field sobriety testing method.
What is the tax on cannabis products?
Marijuana and concentrated products are subject to a 9% state sales tax, the same as alcohol. State regulators have estimated recreational marijuana could generate as much as $600 million in sales in the first year.
Of that total, 25 percent is expected to go toward education, 15 percent will be set aside for drug treatment and prevention programs, 10 percent will go toward public health initiatives, and 50 percent of all revenue generated from marijuana taxes will be used to fund small business development loans throughout Maryland.
Furthermore, local governments may place an additional 3% excise tax on cannabis products sold within their jurisdiction if they choose to do so. This money must then be reinvested into programs that address substance abuse treatment or resources that promote economic opportunity in the community.
As more states continue down the path of legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana—the future of cannabis only looks brighter. As we move forward with legalized marijuana programs in more states nationwide, it’s crucial to recognize all of the progress we’ve made so far.
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland represents a huge step forward for our society as a whole — one that we should celebrate and be proud of.
Maryland residents can now enjoy legal access to safe and regulated cannabis products while reaping the benefits of a newly created industry generating millions in revenue for the state. With recreational marijuana sales underway, it will certainly be interesting to see just how far this new market can go in Maryland.
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