When Marylanders vote in November, they are expected to overwhelmingly support a referendum that would legalize adult-use cannabis. But that doesn’t mean you’d be able to walk into a dispensary and buy a joint the next day.
A medical cannabis industry group is sounding the alarm that if lawmakers don’t hammer out details this summer, the recreational industry won’t launch until 2025 — or later.
In addition to the pending statewide referendum, the General Assembly still needs to agree on a regulatory framework, rules need to be put in place, licenses need to be awarded, and businesses need time to get off the ground. According to state regulators, the Maryland cannabis industry hit about $600 million in revenue last year. Some believe that number could eventually triple or more with a recreational cannabis industry.
Lawmakers who spoke to The Baltimore Sun were hesitant to put a firm date on when the recreational industry could be up and running. They said they want to avoid a repeat of the start of the medical cannabis industry, which was dominated by white-owned businesses. A group of House lawmakers will begin meeting Tuesday for preliminary discussion, but a disparity study considered essential to setting up the industry already is expected to be finished late — perhaps not until the middle of the 2023 legislative session.
Read more at baltimoresun.com