Medical marijuana has been legal in Maryland since 2013 but only became available in 2017. Despite the slow roll-out, Maryland’s cannabis regulations have been tremendously successful.
Between December 1, 2017, and November 30, 2018, Maryland’s medical marijuana industry generated $95.4 million in sales. As of May 2019, the state has grossed $85,640,667 in medical marijuana retail sales, which indicates it will likely surpass the previous year’s revenue.
Although Maryland’s medical marijuana industry is rapidly growing, personal use cannabis is still prohibited. However, the tide may be turning. In May 2019, the Maryland legislature established a workgroup to investigate the impact of implementing recreational cannabis regulations.
The study will analyze ways that the Free State could license and tax a legal cannabis industry, how legal cannabis will impact public health and the criminal justice system, and how to encourage the participation of women and minorities in the industry. The state has also taken measures to reform criminal law related to cannabis.
In 2017, Maryland passed SB 949, reducing the time it takes from 10 to 4 years for a person formerly convicted of a marijuana possession offense to have that record expunged. In January 2019, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that marijuana possession would no longer be prosecuted regardless of the amount.
Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions
If a patient has one or more of the following qualifying medical conditions, they may be eligible to participate in Maryland’s medical marijuana program:
- wasting syndrome
- severe or chronic pain
- severe nausea
- severe or persistent muscle spasms
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- another chronic medical condition which is severe and for which other treatments have been ineffective
Applying for a Medical Marijuana Card in Maryland
Before registering online, adult and minor patients and their legal guardians will need the following:
- A valid email account. This will be the primary way that the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) communicates.
- The last four digits of their social security number
- An electronic copy of a valid US government-issued photo identification
- An electronic copy of proof of Maryland residence or treatment at a Maryland medical facility (non-residents are eligible to participate in the medical marijuana program if they are physically in the state of Maryland during the time of treatment, admitted to a Joint Commission accredited medical facility where they will be given the medicine during their inpatient stay).
The application can be completed online. Once the application is complete, the MMCC will review the application and inform the patient via email if it has been approved or not. If the application is approved, the patient can then designate a caregiver through their Patient Registry online account. Upon registration approval, the patient must visit a health care provider registered with the MMCC to obtain a certification. The patient must have a bona fide provider-patient relationship, and the provider must sign off on the use of marijuana as a therapy for the patient’s debilitating condition. If the patient’s doctor is not already registered with the MMCC, they can do so online. The state encourages providers who have an active, unrestricted license, are in good standing with their board, and are actively registered to prescribe controlled substances to register with the MMCC. According to data collected by the MMCC, a total of 1,430 providers have registered as of June 4, 2019. Once the patient is registered with the MMCC and has received valid certification, they will be able to print a temporary MMCC patient ID card that they can use to buy medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Patients can purchase an ID card for $50; however, it is not necessary to do so to purchase cannabis from a dispensary.
Possession and Purchasing Limits
Qualifying patients are able to possess:
- up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis within a 30-day period. The commission has determined that a 30-day supply is 120 grams (approximately 4 ounces). This translates to up to 36 grams of THC in concentrates.
- more than a 30-day supply of cannabis if the physician indicates that more is needed in the written certification
Medical marijuana can only be legally purchased from a licensed dispensary.
The public consumption of cannabis is prohibited. Cannabis can be consumed in a private residence. However, landlords, condominium regimes, and homeowner associations may prohibit smoking cannabis. Registered medical patients can ingest or vape cannabis without infringement, however. Cannabis forms that are approved for consumption include:
- edibles ( as of the passage of HB 17 in 2019)
- dried flower
- liquids that can be vaporized
- topical ointments
Cannabis Transport and Delivery
Patients should travel with their patient ID card when transporting cannabis from the dispensary to their home. Cannabis delivery is not available.
Driving Under the Influence
It is illegal for patients to operate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or boat while under the influence of marijuana or cannabis. It is also illegal to smoke cannabis while in a motor vehicle, even if the patient is not operating the vehicle.
According to Federal and Maryland law, it is illegal to export cannabis across state lines. This applies even when going to, coming from, or driving through another state that has legalized cannabis. Unfortunately, this means that you must leave your cannabis medicine at home if you plan to leave the state.
Patients are not allowed to grow medical marijuana in their homes. The only legal way to access medical marijuana in Maryland is to purchase it from a licensed dispensary.