Maryland voted to legalize some amounts of cannabis use and possession. Under the enabling legislation, adults 21 and older may possess, use, and grow cannabis. Marijuana is now referred to as cannabis by Maryland laws. Cannabis possession and use became legal on July 1, 2023 under the Cannabis Reform Act.
Meanwhile during the 2023 legislative session, a bipartisan bill HB 1204 which created labeling and packaging requirements, age gating, testing standards, licensing, tracking, and enforcement for hemp died on day 1 of session. As a result of these events, many hemp businesses were forced to close and try to obtain a cannabis license. A group of Maryland hemp businesses got together and challenged the law in court. One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit was Nick Patrick, Vice President of the Maryland Healthy Alternatives Association and owner of Embrace CBD. He wrote an article on his experience that you can find here. The lawsuit claimed that hemp business owners’ due process rights were violated and the new law created a monopoly in favor of previously licensed Maryland cannabis businesses. In October, Patrick and the other plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the recent law. Therefore, certain portions of the law are not being enforced while the issue gets sorted in court and Maryland hemp businesses can return to normal operations—for now.
The 446th session of General Assembly (State Legislature) will meet in Annapolis, Maryland January 10 to April 8, 2024.