Webinar Guide to Maryland’s Cannabis License Lottery

Get Ready For Maryland’s First Round of Adult-Use Cannabis License Applications

Have you been thinking about opening your own cannabis business?  If you live in Maryland, now may be the time. Maryland has begun the process of issuing hundreds of new cannabis business licenses and is destined to be one of the next booming cannabis markets.

Unlike many other states, Maryland applicants will not need to secure a property or raise funds prior to applying for a license.  The state will be using a “qualified” lottery drawing that puts every applicant on an even footing.

Our own Vice President President of Business Development, Bob Wagener has put together a webinar-based guide full of insights for this new program as well as ways you can take advantage right now. Follow along in the video and written topics below to learn more about the next steps when joining Maryland’s exciting cannabis market.



The License Application Window Opens in November

The first open window to apply will run from November 13th until December 12th. This first round will be limited to applicants that qualify as “Social Equity” with the goal of issuing licenses to people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the prohibition of cannabis.  If you do not qualify as social equity, don’t worry.  Another round is scheduled for May of 2024

Check Your Business Qualification Status and Register With The State

There are three ways to qualify as social equity.

  1. If you have lived in a “disproportionately impacted” area for at least 5 of the past 10 years.  
  2. If you attended public school in a disproportionately impacted area for at least 5 years.
  3. If you attended a Maryland college at which 40% of enrollment qualified for Pell Grants. 

There is a list of qualifying zip codes, public schools, and colleges at ose.maryland.gov.

You will need to pre-certify as social equity by uploading required documents to the portal at ose.maryland.gov.  The portal includes a list of acceptable documentation. The certification portal opened on September 8th and will close on November 7th.

Cannabis License Types Available in Maryland’s Lottery

There are three license categories available in this round: Grower, Processor and Retail.  Each of which is available in a Standard (larger operation) and Micro (smaller operation).  That makes 6 total “license types” available.  You will be allowed to submit up to two submissions but they can’t be for the same license type such as two entries for Standard Retail.

Take Note of Regionally Awarded Licenses

To ensure the businesses are distributed geographically across the state, the lottery will be broken down into regions with a select number of each license type available in each region.  Applicants will need to note the license type along with the region in which they want to participate.  Since the available licenses may vary by region, and some will be more sought after than others, there will be some strategy involved as to where and what to pursue.

Plans You’ll Need to Qualify

Here’s where the “qualified” part comes into play. As part of the application submission, you will need to submit an Operational Plan, Business Plan and Diversity Plan that meet or exceed the state’s minimum requirements.  Your plans will need to demonstrate an understanding the industry, that you will adhere to Maryland’s regulations and you have a likelihood of succeed. If your plans do not meet the requirements your entry will be rejected.

Don’t Forget The Cannabis Business Assistance Fund

Maryland understands many applicants may need the assistance of a consultant to generate the plans.  The Cannabis Business Assistance Fund has been created to reimburse applicants for a portion of expenses related to obtaining a license, and getting your business up and running.  Here is a quote from the website:

“To the extent that additional assistance completing the application is needed, applicants may apply for a reimbursable grant to fund 50% of eligible expenses up to $5,000.”

Submit Your Maryland Cannabis Application With Canna Advisors

Canna Advisors has been generating best-in-class Operational Plans, Business Plans and Diversity Plans for decades.  We’ve put together a package specifically for the Maryland program that provides guidance through the process and written plans for your team to submit.  We understand this will ultimately come down to a lottery drawing so we’ve made the package affordable.

Let us know if you are planning to, or considering, participating in this round. Our Maryland Application Package might provide just the right fit to guide you through the process and put you in position to enter your next adventure.

Contact our Maryland cannabis consultants today to get started.

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