Is Marijuana Legal in the State of Maryland?
Maryland law prohibits the use of recreational, adult-use weed/marijuana. However, state residents can access the medical marijuana program run by the Free State if they have one of the qualifying conditions listed by the state. This state’s medical marijuana program allows authorized medical patients to purchase cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries, like in Baltimore or Annapolis.
History of Weed Laws
In 2014, Maryland passed HB 881, or the Natalie LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission legislation, which was signed by Governor O’Malley. This led to the creation of the Natalie LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), which permitted those 18 years of age or older to legally possess, purchase, cultivate and consume cannabis with state authorization provided through a registry process.
In August of 2019, MMCC expanded upon HB 881 to allow dentists, certified nurse midwives, podiatrists, and nurse practitioners to act as approved medical providers capable of producing certifications on a patient’s behalf to be approved for the state’s medical marijuana program.
The MMCC continues to manage the state’s medical marijuana program, overseeing the registration and application process, regulating cultivation, dispensary operations and more.
Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in Maryland?
Only medical patients approved by the state can legally purchase cannabis in Maryland, as the state does not allow non-medical users to make purchases. Medical patients must purchase cannabis only from a state-licensed dispensary. Note that some dispensaries deliver to patient’s homes, and those who need a caregiver to make purchases on their behalf can do so by applying for one through the state.
Edibles and beverages are banned in Maryland, so you cannot purchase these products in a dispensary. You can purchase up to 4 ounces of cannabis or 1 ounce total of THC per 30 days. If a physician believes that you can benefit from more, they can request a higher limit on your behalf.
You can find a list of state-licensed dispensaries on the state’s website. Dispensaries are dispersed throughout the state so that they can be accessible to any resident who is approved for medical marijuana.
Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?
Cannabis use in public is strictly prohibited, and so patients can only use marijuana on private property. It is illegal to consume cannabis in a parked or moving vehicle, whether you are the driver or a passenger. Riding a bicycle and driving while under the influence can lead to criminal charges.
For recreational users, possessing 10 grams or less of cannabis is a civil offense that can come with a fine of up to $100. Medical patients can possess up to 4 ounces of cannabis or up to 1 ounce of THC-infused cannabis products per 30 days.
Can Residents Grow Their Own?
It is illegal for MD residents to grow their own marijuana. This can lead to criminal charges pertaining to drug trafficking laws. This applies to all residents, including medical patients and their caregivers.
Maryland’s medical marijuana program is managed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, who offers an online-accessible registry for patients and caregivers. This provides patients with medical cards that are valid at state-licensed dispensary locations.
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Conditions resulting in a patient receiving hospice or palliative care
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
If a physician feels that medical marijuana would be the ideal treatment for their patient, or that their current treatment is not working, they or the patient can petition the MMCC to authorize medical marijuana use even if the patient does not have one of the above qualifying conditions.
First, a patient will need to receive a diagnosis from their physician, along with a certification written by the physician which is to be submitted to the state for approval.
How to Register for Medical Marijuana in Maryland
You can register for medical marijuana by accessing the application form on the MMCC website. A minor must be registered by their parent or legal guardian. A valid state-issued ID must be provided, along with a passport-style photo. You must pay a $50 fee to apply. Once you receive your PIN, you must provide it to your physician. When approved by the MMCC, you will receive a medical card that is valid at Maryland dispensaries.
Qualifying as a Caregiver
Maryland permits anyone over 21 to apply to be a caregiver, who may care for up to 5 patients at a time. The caregiver must be appointed by the patient in order to register. Caregivers must renew their authorization every 2 years.
Registering as a Caregiver
Registering as a caregiver for a medical marijuana patient requires the submittal of an application form through the MMCC registry website, along with a state-issued photo ID. From there, the caregiver can select the patient(s) from the state’s registry and pay $50 for a caregiver ID card that gives them access to dispensary purchases.
MD did offer reciprocity when it first began its medical marijuana program, although this has since been abolished. Now, out-of-state visitors who have medical cards from other states are prohibited from purchasing cannabis in Maryland dispensaries. Therefore, the only people who can purchase cannabis in a dispensary are Maryland residents who have been approved by the state’s medical marijuana registry program.
Cannabis products are required by law to be tested by an independent laboratory that has been approved by the state. The testing process identifies the cannabinoid profile and potency of the product, while also testing for impurities, contaminants, and other unwanted compounds to ensure safety. This applies to products being cultivated, manufactured, processed, and sold in Maryland.