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Key Tips For a Successful Maryland Cannabis Application Submission 2024

Applying for a Maryland Cannabis License in 2024

Maryland’s first application round ended on December 30, 2023, and brought in 1,708 applications from social-equity applicants. Only 1474 of the 1708 applications received by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) met the eligibility requirements. 

The rejected applicants have been notified that they can request a review from the MCA as a way to better understand why their application was rejected and/or challenge the rejection.  The review period will take place from February 15 to February 29.

Maryland’s second round of cannabis license applications is expected to open in May 2024. Those who had a rejected application can re-apply in the second round for free. This application period will also be available to those who didn’t get selected in the first round and any applicants who don’t fall into the social-equity category. 

Regardless of the type of license you’re hoping to secure, preparing now will give you the time you need to create a deficiency-free application and avoid being rejected in the second round. Here are some things you’ll need to consider before submitting an application:

  1. Did I carefully review the application requirements and Maryland’s laws and regulations?
  2. Am I an eligible applicant based on the MCA’s requirements?
  3. What kind of cannabis business license do I want?
  4. Do I have an operational plan?
  5. What are the expenses?
  6. What are the location requirements?
  7. Are these tasks I can tackle on my own and do I need professional guidance?

Working with CannDelta is the best way to simplify the application process and guarantee your application will not be rejected in the second round. Our services encompass extensive assistance with applications, guidance in crafting or refining business plans, development of competitive market strategies, and much more.

What Happened in the First Application Round?

The first round of licenses was exclusively for applicants falling into the social-equity category. To be considered a social-equity applicant, the following was required: The MCA released statistics showing that out of the 1,708 applicants:

  1. Must have at least 65% ownership and control by one or more individuals.

  2. The individual(s) must have lived or attended public school in an area that was heavily impacted by the criminalization of cannabis or attended a 4-year higher education institution in Maryland where a minimum of 40 percent of students qualified for a Pell Grant.

The MCA intended to award 179 licenses but only granted 169 out of total of 1,708 applications submitted during the first application period. The MCA recently released statistics displaying the different demographics that applied in the first round.

  • 268 applicants self-identified as Asian

  • 56 indicated Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

  • 4 identified as American Indian or Alaska Native

  • 48 applicants identified with two or more races

  • 457 identified as white

  • 41% of all applicants were women


Out of the applications received, 980 were for standard and micro dispensaries, 503 were for standard and micro growers, and 225 were for standard and micro processors. 

The licenses distributed were as follows:

  • 18 Grower Licenses

  • 23 Processor Licenses

  • 96 Dispensary Businesses

  • 5 Independent Testing Labs

  • 32 Ancillary Businesses

The counties receiving the highest number of applications for standard dispensaries included Montgomery County with 104, Prince George’s County with 99, Baltimore County with 83, Baltimore City with 72, and Anne Arundel County with 71, collectively accounting for over half of the total applications received across the state.

When Will the Next Round Open?

Even though there isn’t a concrete date for when the MCA will be receiving applications again, all signals are pointing towards May 2024. This application period will be open to everyone. Here are some key things that you’ll need for an eligible application:

  1. Business and operational plan.

  2. $5,000 non-refundable fee for standard licenses, $1,000 non-refundable fee for micro licenses and any other applicable cost as described in the Cost Breakdown below.

  3. Applicant cannot have any prior conviction of moral turpitude or that involves, burglary, embezzlement, false pretence, fraud, forgery, perjury, robbery, theft, treason, murder or attempted murder.

  4. Must not be associated with more than one application per license type. An individual cannot be associated with more than two applications in an application round.

  5.  CannDelta’s expert application guidance to ensure you’re ticking all the necessary boxes and increasing your chances of being selected for the lottery.

What are the Expenses?

Each Maryland cannabis license comes with different associated fees that vary based on license type and whether you will operate as a standard or micro business.

The image about the types of Cannabis Licenses in Maryland on a page about Maryland Cannabis Licenses: 2024 Update

Overview of Additional Fees:

Independent Testing Laboratory:

  • Annual Fee: $5,000

Ancillary Business and Security Guard Agency:

  • Annual Registration: $1,000

  • Agent Registration (Biennial): $50

Edible Products Permits:

  • Application: $1,000

  • Annual Permit: $500

Miscellaneous Fees:

  • Transfer of Ownership:
    • Entity Transferee: $1,000

    • Individual Transferee: $500

  • Location Change: $500

  • License Reinstatement: $2,000

  • Receivership Application: $1,000

  • Management Agreement: $1,000

What Licenses Will be Awarded in Round 2?

Once the submission period closes, the MCA will be accepting the following types and amounts of cannabis license applications:

Standard Licenses:

  • 25 Grower Licenses

  • 25 Processor Licenses

  • 120 Dispensary Licenses

Micro Licenses:

  • 70 Grower Licenses

  • 70 Processor License

In addition to standard and micro licenses, the MCA will accept up to:

  • 10 Incubator Licenses and 15 on-site consumption licenses.

More on Maryland Cannabis Licenses

An image of Maryland Cannabis Licenses with Regulations and Permissions

What are the Location Guidelines for Round 2?

Even though the MCA cannot mandate that a specific address be disclosed during the initial application process, the MCA has segmented the state into regions, which determine the number of cannabis facilities allowed in each area. Those interested in applying for a Maryland cannabis license should keep an eye-out for any news specifying how many of each license will be allowed within the various counties and regions.

The Image about Maryland Counties and Regions on a page about Cannabis Licenses in Maryland

How to Apply

The MCA has many specific guidelines that applicants need to follow to have a successful submission and be entered into the lottery. To be successful, you’ll need to:

  1. Check out Maryland’s cannabis laws, guidelines, and regulations.

    Having some familiarity with Maryland’s legal landscape and the regulations you’ll face is a great way to begin thinking about your application. If this isn’t something you can invest your time into, reach out to CannDelta. Our consulting team is made up of experts in Maryland’s cannabis industry and we’ll happily complete your application(s) for you!

  1. Different License Types and Application Submission Process.

    You’ll need to figure out what type of cannabis license you’re looking for, which is completely dependent on different variables and your desires for your business? Have questions about license types, application requirements or anything else? Reach out to CannDelta!

  1. Creating a solid Business Plan to Guide you to Success.

    A solid business plan is the foundation of your business’ success. Working with professionals is the best way to start your journey in Maryland’s cannabis industry. CannDelta is equipped with everything you’ll need to be successful!

Why Work With CannDelta?

CannDelta is Maryland’s leading cannabis licensing consulting firm, focused on regulatory compliance and your business’s success.

We have the tools and knowledge necessary to ensure your business thrives in Maryland’s quickly growing cannabis industry. We provide comprehensive support for applications, insightful business plan creation or advice, competitive market strategies, and a lot more.

CannDelta’s consultants offer strategic insight and expertise that lead to successful application submissions and lottery wins. Learn more about how to launch a cannabis business in Maryland by visiting our website or contact us at our toll-free number for further information.

The cost of opening a dispensary can vary based on a variety of factors unique to each aspiring business owner’s situation and plan. Application fees are either $1000 for a micro license or $5000 for a standard license application. This will be accompanied by a renewable license fee every 5 years, which is $25,000 for standard licenses and $10,000 for micro licenses. Additional fees can compound into hundreds of thousands or millions depending on the business/future business owner’s aspirations.

Cannabis licenses vary in type depending on the license type, and whether the license is a standard or micro application. Application fees are either $1000 for a micro license or $5000 for a standard license application. There is an additional license fee that needs to be renewed every 5 years that can range between $10,000 and $50,000. More specific info about each license type can be found in the blog above.

To get a grower license in Maryland, one will have to have a successful application submission for one of the 25 standard grower licenses or 70 micro grower licenses available in the second-round application lottery.

Unfortunately, the MCA will not be accepting any dispensary license applications in the second application period and any plans for future dispensary application periods are unknown.