Maryland Cannabis License Lottery Application Portal Is Open

The Future of Maryland Cannabis Licensing Starts Now

After a smashing start to their adult-use program rollout, Maryland’s cannabis licensing window for future businesses opened on November 13, 2023, and closes on December 12th, with license awards as soon as January 1, 2024.  

For this lottery-based licensing process, there is no benefit to submitting immediately upon the portal opening. It’s better to ensure you meet or exceed all the pass/fail requirements rather than being first to submit.

Only Social Equity Applications Available This Round

One critical thing to know about this round is that it is for social equity applicants only. They must have submitted their information to the Social Equity Portal by November 7th and received verification to apply in this round. Verifications will come in the form of a Creative Services, Inc. Background Check PDF with the word “CLEAR” in the top section. Applicants will provide their final PDF report and unique identifier/order number when submitting the license application.


Cannabis License Types, Restrictions, and Amounts Available This Round

For Maryland’s social equity round, all licenses will be distributed by Region, except for the Standard Dispensary, which will be awarded by county. An applicant can only apply once per license type and only apply up to twice overall, so long as the applications are for different license types. 

As we’ve mentioned in a previous cannabis lottery guide, the number of Maryland cannabis business licenses and the types available in this application round are strictly limited, as follows:

Standard Maryland Cannabis License Types

Micro Maryland Cannabis License Types

  • 24 Grower (cultivation) licenses
  • 24 Processor (manufacturer) licenses
  • 8 Retail (dispensary) licenses

Maryland’s Pigford License Window Is Also Open

An additional five licenses to cultivate cannabis are available separately for Pigford applicants. The Pigford application period runs separately from the social equity round and ends December 7th.

These select applicants will be limited to members of the Pigford v. Glickman class action litigation against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provide documentation of class membership and proof of Maryland farming operations.


License Application Templates and Resources Available Now

Since the state has released its License Application Evaluation Worksheet, there’s no need to wait until November 12th to get started with business development activities and writing the required application plans: Operations Plan, Business Plan, and Diversity Plan.  

The long-awaited ‘template’ application forms finally became available from the state in late October and are somewhat lackluster. The application will require significant business information, plans for finances, experience and diversity, and keen attention to detail in order to qualify for the lottery. Applicants must also be aware of the evaluation criteria while completing the fill-in application forms or risk failing.


Maryland’s Hefty Lottery Requirements

While the template application forms provided by the state of Maryland are helpful, some of the details required are more burdensome than you might expect for a typical lottery ticket.

Extensive Cannabis Business Plan

For example, the Business Plan section’s Financial Workbook requires:

  • Anticipated startup costs for the build out of the physical location of your facility
  • Anticipated startup costs for any required permits for authorized activities
  • Anticipated startup costs for the first year of utilities that must include, but is not limited to, water, gas, and electricity.
  • Anticipated startup costs for the first year of salaries or wages for initial staffing to begin operations.
  • Anticipated startup costs for the first year of necessary equipment for the cultivation, production, or sale of cannabis and cannabis products.
  • Anticipated startup costs for the first year of track and-trace, point of sale, testing costs (if applicable) or other technology fees.
  • Anticipated revenue for the first year of initial operations.
  • Anticipated pre-tax profit* for the first year of initial operations.

Finance, Experience and Diversity Caveats

Even though a property is expressly discouraged by the state, applicants are expected to enter their projected capital expenses, which are closely related to the property and facility plans. 

In addition, the Maryland Business Plan calls for experience details and the Diversity Plan requires a written plan with examples of community commitment and how the applicant plans to be involved in their local area.


Newly Released Application FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are currently posted on the state website, but beware, these are not static and can change without notice throughout the application process. In most states, the regulatory body releases new responses without warning that may completely change the interpretation and application of a rule. All of the application information, including Business Plan, Operating Plan, and Diversity Plan Templates, Application Instructions, and Evaluation Worksheet can be found on the Maryland Cannabis Business Licensing page.


Next Steps After the Maryland Cannabis Lottery

Winning a provisional license in the lottery does not mean an individual can begin cannabis growing, manufacturing, or retail operations. Lottery winners will still need to prepare and submit a full Operations Plan and Business Plan before opening. Essentially, anything in the application forms that require the applicant to “confirm” something now, will require fully written out procedural plans later.

Navigate the Process with Our Maryland Licensing Consultants

With decades of cannabis licensing and business development expertise and a seasoned Maryland team, our East Coast cannabis consultants can help you efficiently handle one of the most sought-after and successful cannabis license markets to date. 

Contact our team to guide you through the Maryland cannabis business license application and lottery or book an hourly consultation to get your existing process questions answered quickly and professionally by seasoned cannabis experts.

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