Governor Wes Moore on Maryland’s $1.1B Cannabis Milestone

The TDR Three Key Takeaways regarding Maryland Cannabis Legalization and Governor Wes Moore:

  • Maryland’s first year of cannabis legalization reached $1.1 billion in sales, notes Governor Wes Moore.
  • Majority minority-owned cannabis businesses result from Maryland’s social equity focus.
  • The Cannabis Workforce Development Program aids the reintegration of individuals with offense histories.

Governor Wes Moore announced that Maryland’s cannabis market, in its first year of legalization, achieved a significant milestone with total medical and adult-use retail sales surpassing $1.1 billion. This achievement reflects the state’s commitment to a regulated, equitable, and thriving cannabis industry.

Maryland’s cannabis legalization journey has showcased an impressive economic impact. In June alone, monthly retail sales exceeded $95 million, with adult-use cannabis sales contributing over $67 million. Since the inception of adult-use sales on July 1, 2023, the sector has generated more than $700 million, while medical cannabis sales have nearly reached $400 million. These figures underline the substantial financial contributions from the cannabis industry to Maryland’s economy.

Governor Moore emphasized the importance of the cannabis market not just in economic terms but also in fostering social equity and business opportunities. The first round of cannabis business licensing was specifically reserved for social equity applicants, resulting in a majority of the selected businesses being minority-owned. Specifically, 53.7% reported majority black or African American ownership, and 76.2% reported majority minority ownership. These new businesses will significantly expand the number of licensed cannabis entities in the state, effectively doubling the current count.

Governor Moore stated, “Our new adult-use cannabis market isn’t only generating extraordinary economic activity – it’s also helping us build new pathways to work, wages, and wealth for all. Making Maryland more competitive means ensuring that everyone can reap the benefits of Maryland’s economic growth. This important milestone proves how our administration continually – and repeatedly – honors our deep commitment to that mission.”

To support the regulatory and oversight initiatives, Maryland established the first state cannabis reference laboratory, managed by a state regulatory agency. This laboratory ensures that all cannabis products meet safety and quality standards. Additionally, the state has collected over $40 million in fees to support the Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund, which aims to aid low-income and disproportionately impacted communities.

The workforce and public health programs are also significant components of Maryland’s cannabis strategy. The Cannabis Workforce Development Program prioritizes individuals with cannabis-related offense histories, helping them reintegrate into the workforce. The “BeCannabisSmart” campaign, another notable initiative, promotes safe cannabis use and educates the public on various safety topics.

Will Tilburg, Director of the Maryland Cannabis Administration, praised the efforts of his team: “I am proud of the efforts of the Cannabis Administration staff who worked in collaboration with our governmental and industry partners to implement a safe and equitable market in Maryland, while simultaneously building a new regulatory agency. As exciting as the past year has been, we expect the year ahead to be even more so, as new social equity businesses bring their passion and innovation to the Maryland market.”

Maryland has also introduced a “Medical and Adult-Use Data Dashboard,” providing the public with access to key metrics and data transparency. The administration has expanded its staff from about 50 to over 100, reflecting the growing needs of the industry.

In terms of social equity and community engagement, the state has established the Office of Social Equity, which is dedicated to promoting economic opportunity within the cannabis market. This office has conducted technical assistance, financial forecasting, and application writing clinics for aspiring cannabis business applicants. The Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund has received strong public support, emphasizing the importance of reinvesting in communities affected by the War on Drugs.

Audrey Johnson, Executive Director of the Office of Social Equity, highlighted the significance of these efforts: “This milestone reflects the dedication and hard work of countless individuals who believe in the power of equitable cannabis policies. Our focus on social equity has paved the way for a more inclusive industry, and we remain committed to ensuring that all Marylanders benefit from this growing market. I am incredibly grateful to the Office of Social Equity team for their remarkable efforts, in support of diverse individuals and businesses aspiring to participate in Maryland’s cannabis economy.”

Maryland’s first year of cannabis legalization has achieved economic success and established a fair and inclusive market. By prioritizing social equity, regulatory oversight, and public health, Maryland serves as an example for other states considering cannabis legalization. Want to be updated on Cannabis, AI, Small Cap, and Crypto? Subscribe to our Daily Baked in Newsletter!

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