Presently, Maryland’s cannabis program permits the sale of medical cannabis to patients. However, a referendum on the ballot this November will allow Maryland voters to decide whether to expand the state’s cannabis program to include recreational use sales. Recent polls indicate that a majority of Maryland’s potential voters support the legalization of adult-use cannabis. If the referendum is approved, oversight for Maryland’s cannabis program would transition from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, the current state agency, to Maryland’s Alcohol Tobacco Commission (ATC). Should Maryland voters elect to expand the state’s cannabis program, it is unlikely that any changes would occur in 2023 as there are a number of issues to be addressed in Maryland’s legislature, including the timing and requirements for new applicants, taxation on adult-use sales, and terms and restrictions for new and existing licenses.
The revenue projections for Maryland’s medical program (as displayed here, without consideration of any potential adult use sales) contemplate steady growth for the next several years. Nevertheless, industry observers and participants possess markedly different opinions as to how such projections should be adjusted to reflect the contemplated changes to the state’s cannabis industry. Assuming the referendum passes, Maryland legislators will need to balance several competing interests – how to recognize the interests of the incumbent operators, how to encourage additional participation in the industry to reflect the additional market demand, and how to support adult use customers without destroying the patient protections that are currently in place.
Please let us know your thoughts on the potential expansion of Maryland’s cannabis program. We plan to summarize any feedback we receive and forward the results to key industry stakeholders.
ABOUT JONATHAN WACHS
Jonathan Wachs provides strategic counseling and operational advice to clients in the areas of intellectual property, commercial transactions, and outsourced legal departments. As head of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group, Mr. Wachs works closely with clients to develop, register, analyze, enforce, and transfer intellectual property assets in a customized, cost-efficient, and highly effective manner. Additionally, he conducts intellectual property audits through which clients learn the nature and value of their intellectual property assets and the steps needed to protect such assets from misappropriation or dilution. As a business lawyer, he has successfully negotiated and completed several multimillion-dollar business transactions and has served as general counsel to several small and midsize businesses and organizations in various industries and professions.
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