October 1, 2023 11:04 pm
Maryland Opens Applications For Marijuana Business Grants As Regulators Issue New Industry Guidance

Maryland officials are now accepting applications for grants to support current health-related marijuana companies convert into dual licensees that can serve the adult-use market place when legalization requires impact subsequent month.

Also, as regulators publish new guidance for the sector, the Division of Commerce (DOC) announced that, beginning on August 1, it will furthermore be taking applications for grants and loans to help market place participation from social equity licensees by supplying startup capital and covering operational charges.

The Cannabis Enterprise Help Loan/Grant Fund (CBAF), which was established beneath a cannabis regulations bill that Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed final month, will additional present grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for “cannabis-associated programs” like organization improvement and coaching initiatives.

“The Cannabis Enterprise Help Fund will support guarantee much more equitable footing as our health-related cannabis license holders transition to recreational marijuana use in Maryland,” Moore mentioned in a press release. “The fund promotes equitable financial development and will empower our tiny, minority, and ladies-owned companies to have a higher stake in this developing sector.”

For the initial round of help, the division mentioned that it is accepting applications for Health-related License Conversion Charge grants that will cover application charges for current health-related marijuana dispensaries, processors and growers that will will need to convert to dual licensees beneath draft regulations that have been released by the Marijuana Cannabis Administration (MCA) final week.

Eligible companies could acquire grants ranging from $25,000-$50,000, based on the license sort, in order to convert. Applications will be authorized on a rolling basis by means of June 30. Enterprise that qualify but currently paid the charge could apply for reimbursement.

In order to qualify, the applicant will have to be a tiny organization with no much more than 50 workers as of May perhaps 1. And the organization will have to also be at least 51 % “owned by men and women whose private net worth does not exceed $1.7 million,” DOC says.

In a second round of help in August, the state will then use the exact same fund to distribute grants for social equity companies that received pre-approval ahead of October 1, 2022 and that “have sources readily available to turn out to be operational and participate in the health-related and adult-use cannabis sector.”

“Assistance in the kind of startup capital and operating costs will be readily available as conditional grants or loans. Applicants will have to be in a position to demonstrate that with a requested quantity of funding they will turn out to be operational in a period of time to be announced,” the notice says.

A third work beneath the fund will market cannabis-associated applications at HBCUs that help companies applying for licenses and organization improvement organizations such as incubators. The funding “will also be readily available to train and help tiny companies, which includes minority and ladies organization owners and entrepreneurs who are in search of to turn out to be licensed to participate in the adult-use cannabis sector.”

DOC Secretary Kevin Anderson said that the fund “is an crucial step in lowering barriers and supplying equitable possibilities for our tiny, minority, and ladies-owned companies in the health-related cannabis sector,”

“We appear forward to functioning with our organization neighborhood and Historically Black Colleges and Universities as we continue to diversify this sector,” he mentioned.

The draft emergency regulations that Maryland marijuana regulators released final week will have to nevertheless be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Critique (AELR). The guidelines will have to also be published in the Maryland Register ahead of they’re enacted.

The 41-page draft rule sets definitions, codifies private possession limits, lays out responsibilities for regulators, explains licensing protocol—including for social equity applicants—clarifies enforcement authorities and penalties and outlines packaging and labeling specifications.

The regulatory bill that Moore signed final month covers much more ground, which includes setting a nine % tax price on marijuana items, supplying for certain allocations of tax income and imposing caps on various license sorts in the state.

Meanwhile, DOC has also identified almost one hundred zip codes that it designated as disproportionately impacted regions to inform social equity application approvals.

State cannabis regulators separately released a series of new guidance documents for the sector final week that cover guidelines for problems like license costs, packaging, marketing, ownership transfers, the health-related cannabis plan, growers, processors and dispensaries.

Regulators will host a webinar about cannabis guidelines on June 14.

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Below a referendum that voters authorized in November, legalization of possession of up to 1.five ounces of cannabis requires impact on July 1, placing stress on regulators to place the guidelines in location sooner than later.

The legislation that the governor signed was partly a item of comprehensive operate from bipartisan and bicameral lawmakers who have been component of Property Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup, which was formed in 2021 by Speaker Adrienne Jones (D).

Members held many meetings to inform future regulations following Maryland voters’ approval of a legalization referendum in the course of final year’s election, which triggered the implementation of complementary legislation covering guidelines for standard policies like possession and low-level household cultivation.

In addition to legalizing the obtain and possession of up to 1.five ounces of cannabis for adults beginning this summer season, the legislation will also take away criminal penalties for possession of up to two.five ounces. Adults 21 and older will be permitted to develop up to two plants for private use and present cannabis with out remuneration.

Previous convictions for conduct created legal beneath the proposed law will be automatically expunged, and persons at present serving time for such offenses will be eligible for resentencing. The legislation tends to make it so persons with convictions for possession with intent to distribute can petition the courts for expungement 3 years right after serving out their time.

Components of the referendum took impact at the starting of the year. Possession of up to 1.five ounces of cannabis became a civil offense, punishable by a $one hundred fine, with a $250 fine in location for much more than 1.five ounces and up to two.five ounces.

Adult-use legalization started to advance by means of Maryland’s legislature in the 2021 session, but no votes have been eventually held. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing that year on a legalization bill, which followed a Property Judiciary Committee hearing on a separate cannabis proposal.

Maryland legalized health-related cannabis by means of an act of the legislature in 2012. Two years later, a decriminalization law took impact that replaced criminal penalties for possession of significantly less than ten grams of marijuana with a civil fine of $one hundred to $500.

Meanwhile, Moore also lately permitted a bill to turn out to be law that prevents police from employing the odor or possession of cannabis alone as the basis of a search.

He additionally signed a measure final week to make it so the lawful and accountable use of marijuana by parents and guardians will not be construed by state officials as kid “neglect.”

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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