Maryland's marijuana market experienced unprecedented growth in 2023, setting a new monthly sales record of almost $96.5 million across both medical and adult-use sectors. As the recreational market, operational since July, consistently reached new milestones each month, December witnessed over $61.5 million in recreational sales, complemented by medical sales totaling just under $35 million.
Despite the recreational market only launching halfway through the year, the state saw a remarkable total of $787.5 million in legal marijuana product sales throughout 2023.
Data Discrepancies Raise Questions
Sales data released by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) revealed discrepancies between two separate data sets. While one report indicated December's adult-use sales at $61,506,086.25, another data dashboard presented a slightly different figure of $61,519,168. MCA attributed these variations to ongoing reconciliations between dispensary point-of-sale systems and the state's seed-to-sale tracking system, Metrc.
David Torres, Deputy Chief of Communications and Outreach for MCA, acknowledged the discrepancies but did not clarify which sales figure was accurate.
Government Revenue and Social Equity Initiatives
Government revenue from cannabis purchases surpassed $12 million during the first quarter of legal sales to adults, with 35 percent allocated to the Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund. This fund aims to support communities disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition, reflecting the state's commitment to social equity and economic growth.
Governor Wes Moore (D) emphasized the importance of the revenue, stating it is crucial to supporting social equity and economic growth in line with his administration's values.
In 2023, Maryland regulators opened the first round of applications for new adult-use marijuana dispensary, cultivation, and processing licenses, exclusively reserved for social equity businesses. This initiative includes 75 dispensary, 16 grower, and 32 processor licenses, aiming to significantly increase the number of legal retailers in the state.
As the legal market continued to evolve, MCA introduced an online portal in September for checking eligibility for a social equity marijuana business license. In October, the agency issued guidance to minimize the risk of burglaries and crimes targeting licensed cannabis businesses.
Legislative Changes and Opposition
Maryland implemented laws preventing police from using the smell or possession of marijuana as the sole basis for a search, and protecting parents' responsible cannabis use from being construed as child neglect. However, Republican lawmakers are pushing to reverse the law preventing searches based on the smell of marijuana, citing concerns about motorist safety and law enforcement's ability to seize firearms.
This story was originally published by Marijuana Moment.