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After two years of waiting, Maryland recreational cannabis is finally legal in Little America. It’s great news for the state’s cannabis industry and even greater news for the residents who have had a little too many brushes with the law due to the state’s possession laws.

So, now that Marylanders have the access they deserve, how are Maryland recreational cannabis sales going?

First, a quick backstory of recreational marijuana in the Old Line State.

The (Rocky) History of Maryland Recreational Cannabis Legalization

For all the long years recreational cannabis was illegal in MD, most residents of Little America did not appreciate the restriction.

The Resistance

The residents of the land of the free and the brave are not ones to bury their heads in the sand and cower when faced with laws that appear unfriendly. 

Instances of such resistance are sprinkled throughout Maryland’s history and more recently relived in the state’s referendum for recreational cannabis legalization.

Before legalization, Marylanders’ reluctance to bow to the restrictive cannabis possession laws was well expressed in the data gathered by the ACLU.

For instance, as of 2010, MD was the #5 state with the highest cannabis possession arrest rate in the U.S. The state spent about $106 million to enforce those possession laws, making theirs the third highest spending in the country.

Even after the state decriminalized the possession of certain amounts of marijuana in 2014, the drop in marijuana possession and possession arrests was not as substantial as the state had expected.

And by 2018, three counties in the state were among the top 10 places in the U.S. for marijuana possession arrests, costing the state millions of dollars.

It was obvious that the only way forward was to ask the people what they wanted and give it to them.

The Voice of the People Was Loud and Clear

In 2019, the legislators made the first serious attempt to legalize Maryland recreational cannabis. 

This intent was enshrined in HB32 (2021), a bill to legalize MD adult-use marijuana and expunge prior marijuana-related convictions.

Although this bill didn’t go beyond a committee hearing, a referendum proposal was thrown in for the people to decide the fate of legal recreational cannabis Maryland.

In November 2022, the people made their decision: 1,302,161 (67.20%) voters voted YES to support legalization, while 635,572 (32.80%) voters voted NO to oppose.

These results make MD the second state, after New Jersey, to successfully legalize recreational marijuana via referendum.

At 67.20% of total votes, it’s also the second state with the highest percentage of supporting votes for marijuana legalization, second only to Washington, DC (at 70.06% of total votes). 

For context, of the 15 states that legalized adult-use cannabis by balloting, only 4 scaled through, with more than 58% of votes on the ballot.

With the voice of the people clear and loud enough, the free state legalized recreational cannabis with its first sale on July 1, 2023.

Now that it’s been legalized, how are Maryland recreational cannabis sales going?

Maryland Recreational Cannabis Sales

Studies by expert market analysts suggest that the demand for cannabis in MD is very high and places it among the top 15-20% of all states — even before adult-use legalization. 

The analysts suggested that Maryland will need at least 300 dispensaries to keep up with the high demands.

Therefore, it was no surprise when Maryland recreational cannabis sales started out with an impressive record of $10.4 million in the first weekend.

On the first day, the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) reported that MD dispensaries recorded a total of $3,558,947 in adult-use cannabis sales alone. 

And this makes Maryland recreational cannabis sales on opening day one of the highest in U.S. adult-use marijuana history.

Currently, there are about 100 storefronts serving Marylanders, and that’s clearly not enough in any way. 

Before now, these dispensaries only served about 163,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Now, the market is open to about 4.5 million adults 21 years of age and above.

Interestingly, while Marylanders generally welcome the eventual legalization of recreational cannabis Maryland, there have been pockets of concern that, in comparison to other states, the cost of MD cannabis is very high due to the 9% tax on adult-use cannabis.

On the other hand, there is almost nothing for medical marijuana patients to complain about as the market only got more favorable. 

No tax is attached, and the menu is not limited to a few products.

In addition, those enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program are undeterred about renewing their registrations to keep enjoying the benefits.

What are those benefits?

Recreational Cannabis Maryland vs. Maryland Medical Cannabis

For starters, Maryland medical cannabis is clearly way cheaper than Maryland recreational cannabis, but that’s not where the sparring ends.

Below’s a breakdown of how medical cannabis MD tops over recreational cannabis in Maryland:

      • Product availability: The MD cannabis market is open to various cannabis products, including vapes, concentrates, flowers, tinctures, edibles (gummies, pills, and chews), and topicals. However, almost all the concentrates are unavailable to recreational consumers.
      • High-potency cannabis: Highly potent cannabis products will not be available to adult-use consumers. The state will mostly reserve them for MMJ patients. Patients have access to 36 grams of THC product per month, but adult-use consumers have access to a meager 750 milligrams of THC per cannabis product per purchase.
      • Age limitation: Marijuana for medical use is available to patients who are 18+ and have a medical marijuana card. Adult-use marijuana is available to persons 21 years of age and older.
      • Personal use amount limits: Medical users can possess up to 4.2 oz. of flower, while recreational users can only possess up to 1.5 oz. of flower at a time.
      • Home grow limit: Patients can grow up to four cannabis plants at home for medical use, while recreational users have a limit of two plants per household.

    Get the Best Maryland Cannabis Product With Your MD MMJ Card from Elevate Holistics!

    With these advantages in mind, patients are opting to stick with Maryland’s medical cannabis program rather than shift to recreational cannabis to spend a lot more for a limited selection of cannabis products.

    With your MD MMJ card, you can get top-quality cannabis from the best dispensaries in Maryland. And getting your Maryland medical marijuana card is not as difficult as you think it’d be.

    In three quick and easy steps, you could have an online consultation with a certified physician, get qualified for the medical marijuana program, and get your MD MMJ card from the comfort of your home.

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    About the author

    Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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