Maryland Cannabis Lottery: What’s Next for Applicants

The First Social Equity License Applications Have Been Received

The first cannabis license application window for the Maryland adult-use cannabis program closed on December 12 with 1,708 qualifying applications for social equity licenses having been received before this deadline. But if you think hitting submit and waiting is all that’s needed to do now, you would be mistaken. This is just the beginning for Maryland cannabis.


Second Cannabis License Application Round to Take Place in May

As of this writing, we are eagerly waiting for the first adult-use cannabis licenses to be awarded from this December’s round, and we’re excited for the second application window, which is expected to open in May. This second license round will be for non-social equity applicants.

With all these upcoming dates to get excited for, along with constantly changing landscape (e.g required templates for the application were not accessible until days prior to the application window opening), what’s next? What are the real and effective steps that you can be doing now to improve your odds of scoring a cannabis business license in Maryland? And what else can you be doing too to bolster your cannabis businesses chances at success?


Let’s Address the Lottery License Elephant in the Room

It’s a simple process—if an applicant submits the qualifying material, they will be entered into the lottery. Then, winners will be chosen at random. The requirements for the initial admittance into the lottery—such as completing an Operational Plan, Business Plan and Capitalization Table, and Diversity Plan—were relatively easy to meet so long as the instructions were read thoroughly. This makes the issuance of a license much more luck-based than merit-based compared to other states, such as New York.

This also means that many applicants will still need to do a decent amount of work after receiving their license and prior to operating.

If you Thought You Were Out of the Woods with Required Plans, Think Again

There were required plans in the application, that is correct. But these plans are not all what the Maryland Cannabis Administration is looking for. If you read the plans that have been submitted, you’ll see that these alone won’t satisfy the MCA. License holders will still need to write multiple plans to address areas as varied as fire safety protocols, hygiene and sanitation procedures, and a security plan. 

Between now and when the MCA will begin first issuing licenses, you can start working on these plans as outlined in the regulations. Or, if this feels like too much work (more than understand as there are a LOT), you can find someone to help with your narrative plan writing and SOP development. Luckily, the team at Canna Advisors is well-qualified and well-prepared to write and guide you through each of the required plans and answer all your Maryland-based questions.


Strategically Secure Your Maryland Cannabis Property

Unlike in some states, property was not a requirement for submission of an application in Maryland. Some applicants may have already figured this step out, which is great! But many more have not. And no matter what, eventually, everyone awarded a license will need to figure out where they’re going to be operating their business.

The MCA will be issuing licenses based on, in part, jurisdictions and regions in the state. Baltimore City, for example, has the highest number of standard dispensary licenses available at 11 for this application round. Applicants will have needed to identify at least a region of choice for operations in the application, but after being awarded a license, more specifics will be required.

If you’re in need of a property for your cannabis business, now is the time to begin looking. Why do this now even if you don’t have your license secured? Because we all know how long finding a property takes!


How to Plan for The Best Maryland Adult-Use Cannabis Business

When done well and with the right motivation and research at your disposal, starting a cannabis business can be incredibly lucrative. This is especially true if you’re willing to push through some of the foundational logistics difficulties and navigate ever-changing regulations. However, we believe the old adage is true, especially in cannabis: it takes money to make money.

1) Financial Models Create a Path to Investors

When it comes to fundraising and finding investors, financial modeling can be one of the best tools at your disposal to gaining insight into the profits and costs with a cannabis business. This can put your best financial foot forward and assuage any concerns others may have about your dream of entering the cannabis space.

2) Business Plans Build the Road to Profits

Another resource which you can use is custom business planning. While there was the required business plan for the initial application, this document is not really one used to detail the needs of a business from market analysis to team staffing to physical buildout needs. Both of these steps can be necessary to establishing your business as one that is legitimate and on the road to profitability.

Partner with Maryland Cannabis Experts to Get it Done Right

It’s time to prepare for your license in Maryland. With 10+ years of medical and adult-use cannabis experience in 38 states, our team of consultants are here to answer all your Maryland cannabis questions. Lottery or no lottery, our team can navigate Marylands unique application process to streamline your cannabis business from ideation to execution.

Contact Canna Advisors to ensure you’re prepared should your cannabis business win a license and don’t forget about our single-block hourly consulting for those in need of quick, one-on-one Maryland consultation services.

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