Cannabis Legalization in Maryland – What You Need To Know

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Maryland’s Adult-Use Cannabis: What You Need to Know

Maryland has legalized the use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and above with the law becoming official today July 1st, 2023.

With this new law, there are important regulations and guidelines to ensure the safe and responsible use of cannabis. In this blog post, we will answer frequently asked questions about adult-use cannabis in Maryland and provide a clear understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding its use.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects and is often used for its potential therapeutic benefits. It is available in various forms such as oils, tinctures, creams, and edibles.

Can cannabis be used for medical purposes?

Yes, cannabis has been used for medical purposes to alleviate symptoms of various conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, muscle spasms, and certain neurological disorders. Maryland has a medical cannabis program that allows qualified patients to obtain cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if cannabis is an appropriate treatment option and to ensure proper dosing and monitoring.

Can I grow cannabis at home?

Under the new law, individuals aged 21 and older are allowed to cultivate up to two cannabis plants in their homes, as long as it is done out of public view. Similarly, a household can cultivate a maximum of two plants, regardless of the number of individuals over 21 residing in the home. However, it is important to note that cultivating cannabis plants is still subject to certain restrictions, and landlords or property owners may prohibit growing cannabis on their properties.

Individuals aged 21 and older can legally cultivate up to two cannabis plants in their homes, as long as they are out of public view. If multiple individuals over the age of 21 live in the same residence, the maximum number of plants allowed is two. Medical patients registered with the Maryland Cannabis Administration can cultivate two additional plants, not exceeding a total of four plants in a given residence. Landlords and property owners can choose to prohibit cannabis cultivation on their properties.

Where can cannabis be used?

Adults aged 21 and older can use cannabis in private homes and private property. However, it is essential to be aware that landlords and management companies have the right to prohibit cannabis use. Public spaces, including parks, streets, sidewalks, bars, restaurants, and public transportation, are off-limits for smoking or consuming cannabis. It is crucial to respect the rules and regulations in place to ensure public safety and minimize potential negative impacts.

Cannabis can only be used in private homes and private property. 

Additionally, most hotels do not allow smoking cannabis in their rooms, so it’s best to check with the hotel’s policy before consuming. Vacation rentals may also have specific rules regarding cannabis use, so consult with the property owner beforehand.

What are the penalties for underage use and possession of cannabis?

Individuals under 21 years of age are not permitted to possess or use non-medical cannabis. Possessing 2.5 ounces or less may result in fines, mandatory drug education programming, and referral for assessment or treatment of substance use disorder. Possessing more than 2.5 ounces may lead to criminal penalties. It is essential for individuals under the legal age to understand and adhere to the laws surrounding cannabis use to avoid legal consequences.

Can you use cannabis at work?

The new law does not address cannabis use or impairment in the workplace. It is essential to follow any existing laws and workplace policies regarding substance or cannabis use. Employers may have specific guidelines in place, so it’s advisable to check with your employer or prospective employer for their policies on substance use in the workplace.

How much cannabis can you possess?

Adults aged 21 and older are allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis (such as vape products), or a total amount of edible cannabis products that does not exceed 750 mg THC. It’s important to adhere to these limits to stay within the legal boundaries.

Can you smoke or consume cannabis in public?

Smoking or consuming cannabis in public places is strictly prohibited. This includes outdoor spaces, indoor spaces open to the public (such as parks, streets and sidewalks, bars and restaurants, public transportation), and indoor places of employment. Remember that cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, so possession on federal property, including national parks, is also not allowed.

Can you buy cannabis products?

Cannabis products can be purchased from licensed dispensaries in Maryland. You must be 21 years or older and present a valid government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, military ID, or tribal card) at the point of sale. Licensed dispensaries are the only legal places to buy cannabis in Maryland. Please note that cannabis products are subject to a 9% sales tax, similar to alcohol. Individuals are limited to purchasing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or a total of edible cannabis products not exceeding 750 mg THC.

Regulation of the cannabis industry

The Maryland Cannabis Administration, established by HB 556 and SB 516, is responsible for regulating the expanded medical and adult-use cannabis industry. The agency ensures compliance with health, safety, and security regulations, while also incorporating existing medical cannabis program regulations.

Impact on the medical cannabis program

The legalization of adult-use cannabis does not directly affect the medical cannabis program. Patients can still obtain medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries, and individuals aged 18 and older can register for the program. Special provisions are in place to guarantee patient-only operating hours, dedicated service lines, and continued access to medication.

Applying for a cannabis license

The legislation establishes two rounds of licensing, with the first round scheduled for the fall of 2023 and the second round after May 1, 2024. The Maryland Cannabis Administration will conduct outreach and education on the licensing process through in-person and virtual events. Interested individuals can provide their contact information to receive updates on the application availability.

Legalization process

Maryland voters approved the use of cannabis by adults 21 and older in the 2022 General Election. The General Assembly passed legislation (House Bill 556/Senate 516) during the 2023 session, establishing a framework for legal adult-use sales. Licensed dispensaries were authorized to convert their licenses for dual medical and adult-use sales, creating a legal adult-use marketplace as of July 1, 2023. The Maryland Cannabis Administration will issue additional licenses over two licensing rounds.

Addressing social equity

The legislation prioritizes equity in cannabis licensing to ensure that individuals and communities disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition have access to economic opportunities. Measures include exclusive social equity applicant licensing rounds, access to capital and assistance for qualifying businesses, new license categories and classes with lower operational costs, eliminating non-violent cannabis convictions as barriers to employment, and the creation of an Office of Social Equity. Additional funds support community reinvestment and repair.

Federal legality

Although adult-use cannabis is legal in Maryland, it remains illegal under federal law. Interstate transport and possession on federal land are prohibited. It’s important to adhere to state laws and regulations to avoid legal complications.

 

Understanding the Risks: What Parents Should Know about Youth and Adult Use of Cannabis

 

As cannabis legalization becomes more prevalent, it’s crucial for parents to be informed about the potential risks associated with cannabis use, both for youth and adults. This blog post aims to provide parents with essential information about cannabis use and its potential health implications. By understanding these risks, parents can play a crucial role in educating and protecting their children.

Is cannabis addictive?

While not everyone who uses cannabis becomes addicted, it is possible to develop a dependence on the substance. Regular and heavy use of cannabis can lead to cannabis use disorder, which is characterized by difficulty controlling or stopping cannabis use despite negative consequences. Individuals with a history of substance abuse or mental health issues may be more susceptible to developing an addiction.

Is cannabis safe?

The safety of cannabis use depends on various factors, including the individual’s age, overall health, frequency of use, and the method of consumption. Cannabis use has been associated with certain health risks, such as addiction, impaired cognitive function, respiratory issues, and potential mental health effects. It is important to use cannabis responsibly, be aware of the potential risks, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

Risks of youth cannabis use

Cannabis can have harmful effects on the developing brain, especially with regular or heavy use. Studies suggest that cannabis use during adolescence may have long-lasting impacts. Parents, caregivers, and trusted adults should discourage youth from using cannabis, avoid consuming it in front of them, and ensure that cannabis products are kept securely locked away.

Health risks of adult-use cannabis

The full extent of the health impacts of cannabis use is still being studied. Frequent cannabis use has been associated with cannabis use disorder, addiction, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis. Smoking or vaping cannabis, even without tobacco, can lead to lung irritation and inflammation. Secondhand cannabis smoke may also contain toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, similar to tobacco smoke.

Cannabis use during pregnancy and breastfeeding

The safety of cannabis use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is uncertain. Medical experts, including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend avoiding all types of cannabis, including CBD, while pregnant or breastfeeding. More research is needed to understand the potential short and long-term effects on the developing baby.

Risks of mixing cannabis with alcohol, tobacco, and prescription medication

Combining cannabis with alcohol can result in heightened impairment, increasing the risk of harm to oneself and others. Mixing tobacco and cannabis exposes individuals to chemicals that may harm the lungs and cardiovascular system. Additionally, cannabis may interact with prescription medications, altering their effects and potency. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional regarding potential interactions and side effects.

The use and possession of marijuana remain illegal on federal land, which includes various locations throughout the United States. Here are some examples of federal locations where smoking marijuana is not allowed:

  1. Federal buildings: This includes government offices, courthouses, post offices, and federal facilities where federal employees work. Smoking marijuana is prohibited within these premises.
  2. National parks and forests: Marijuana use is not permitted within national parks, national forests, and other federally designated protected areas. These locations are under federal jurisdiction and subject to federal laws.
  3. Military bases: Smoking marijuana is strictly prohibited on military bases and within military installations. The U.S. Department of Defense enforces a zero-tolerance policy for drug use, including marijuana.
  4. Federal healthcare facilities: Marijuana use is not allowed within federal healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and clinics operated by federal agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  5. Transportation hubs and airports: Marijuana is banned at transportation hubs regulated by federal authorities, including airports, train stations, bus terminals, and ports of entry. Federal regulations apply to these areas, regardless of state laws.

Conclusion

Today July 1st, 2023 marks the beginning of legal adult-use cannabis in the state of Maryland, allowing individuals aged 21 and older to purchase and use cannabis products from licensed dispensaries, possess and cultivate limited quantities of marijuana.

However, it is important to understand the regulations and responsibilities that come with this legalization. Public consumption is strictly prohibited, and impaired driving or using cannabis while driving can lead to DUI charges. Additionally, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines. 

Parents play a vital role in educating their children about the risks associated with cannabis use. Understanding the potential harm to the developing brain, the uncertainties of cannabis use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the risks of combining cannabis with alcohol, tobacco, or prescription medication can help parents guide their children towards responsible choices. By actively engaging in conversations and keeping cannabis securely stored, parents can help promote the health and well-being of their children in the context of evolving cannabis legalization.

Understanding Maryland’s adult-use cannabis legislation is crucial for consumers, businesses, and communities. By being informed about purchasing, regulations, the impact on the medical cannabis program, licensing opportunities, the legalization process, social equity measures, and federal legality, individuals can navigate the changing landscape responsibly and within the confines of the law.

Responsible use, awareness of the potential risks, and compliance with the law are crucial for ensuring a safe and legal cannabis experience in Maryland.

 

Source: https://mmcc.maryland.gov/Pages/cannabisfaq.aspx?s=03

 

 

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