Legal Blog

Key Highlights of Maryland House Bill 253

Interior of the Maryland State House in the Chamber of the Maryland State Senate.On Wednesday, the Economic Matters Committee introduced House Bill 253 (the “Bill”) for the purpose of clarifying and amending the Cannabis Reform Act. Here are several key highlights:

  1. The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission (“ATCC”) will develop best practices to regulate the cannabis industry, focusing on public health measures. The ATCC seeks to regulate medical and adult-use cannabis in a similar manner.
  2. The bill introduces regulations for cannabis nurseries, defined as businesses providing seeds, seedlings, immature plants, or clones to other cannabis businesses. The Maryland Cannabis Administration (“MCA”) shall oversee the solicitation, evaluation, and approval or denial of applications for cannabis licenses, including those for cannabis nurseries.
  3. The bill seeks to authorize processors to supply cannabis to licensees and independent testing labs while increasing annual processing limits.
    1. A standard license will allow the holder of a processor license to process more than 2,000 pounds of cannabis per year.
    2. A micro license will allow the holder of a microprocessor license to process not more than 2,000 pounds of cannabis per year.
  4. The bill proposes penalties for violations related to Subsection 36-202. The Administration may, after a hearing under Subsection 36-202, fine a cannabis licensee or suspend, restrict, or revoke a cannabis license or a cannabis registration for a violation of this title or a regulation adopted under this title or any other state law or regulation related to cannabis or the operations of a cannabis business or registrant.
  5. The bill seeks to transfer administration of the Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement Fund from the Comptroller to the MCA.
  6. The bill further clarifies the possession limits for qualifying patients, restricting qualifying patients to the amount authorized in their written certification.
  7. The bill proposes expanded advertising regulations.
    1. An advertisement for a cannabis licensee, cannabis product, or cannabis-related service may not engage in advertising by means of television, radio, Internet, mobile application, social media, or other electronic communication, event sponsorship, or print publication unless at least 85% of the audience is reasonably expected to be at least 21 years old as determined by reliable and current audience composition data.
    2. A cannabis business may place exterior signage on the premises of the business for the limited purpose of identifying the business to the public.
  8. The bill proposes temporary registration options for cannabis agents. The MCA may issue a temporary cannabis agent registration if an alternate method of criminal history records checks, as authorized by the director of the Central Repository and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), is used and the applicant has submitted an application for the Central Repository, as required in Subsection 36-505(b). The proposed period of a temporary cannabis agent registration may not exceed 60 calendar days.
  9. The governor will appoint the chair of the Advisory Board on Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis from among board members.

A copy of House Bill 253 can be found at 2024 Regular Session – House Bill 253 First Reader ( I will be periodically monitoring the progress of House Bill 253 and any subsequent developments related to the proposed changes in cannabis regulations in Maryland. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how these potential changes may impact you or your cannabis business, please contact or 301-575-0302.

ABOUT JON WACHS | 301.575.0302

As founder of the firm’s Cannabis Law group, Jon Wachs is a recognized resource on issues relating to the evolving relationship between cannabis law and intellectual property protection.  He has worked with many operators in the cannabis industry to navigate the rules and processes relating to specific state medical cannabis programs.  Mr. Wachs provided essential legal support to obtain required Maryland regulatory approval for the transfer of several licenses affected by a multi-billion dollar business combination.  He also facilitated a series of business transactions involving the sale, purchase and combination of integrated cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary businesses.