2023/2024 Maryland Cannabis License Application Process

Interested in Applying for a Maryland Cannabis License? Goldberg Law can help. Kevin Goldberg has applied for, and won numerous cannabis licenses in Maryland and elsewhere.

Here is what you need to know now about upcoming cannabis opportunities in Maryland!


In the Fall of 2023 the Maryland Cannabis Administration will accept applications for new cannabis licenses. The first round will be restricted to Social Equity Applicants. A Social Equity Applicant must have at least 65% of its ownership and control held by individuals who qualify as a Social Equity Applicant by: (i) living in a disproportionately impacted area for at least 5 of the past 10 years, (ii) attended a public school in a disproportionately impacted area for at least 5 years, or (iii) for at least 2 years attended a 4 year college in MD where at least 40% of attendees qualified for a Pell Grant. We expect the Office of Social Equity to announce the “disproportionately impacted area” zip codes in the next few weeks. The Maryland Cannabis Administration must notify the public at least 60 days before accepting applications, and the window to accept applications must be open for at least 30 days. The Cannabis Administration is required to begin awarding licenses by January 1, 2024.

Types of Cannabis Licenses, Application Fees and Application Process

There will be Standard Licenses and Micro Licenses for cultivation, processing, dispensing and incubator space. In Round 1 up to 20 Standard Grow Licenses will be awarded, up to 40 Standard Processing licenses will be awarded and up to 80 Standard dispensary licenses will be awarded. In addition, up to 30 Micro Grow licenses, 30 Micro Processing Licenses, 10 Micro Dispensary Licenses (delivery licenses), and up to 10 Incubator Space Licenses will be awarded. The application fee is $5,000.00 for Standard Licenses and $1,000 for Micro Licenses. The application fee for incubator space licenses is $5,000. The application fees are non-refundable. A person can only be included on one application per license type per licensing round, and a person may only be on two (2) applications across all  license  categories in any licensing round.

For Dispensaries, applicants will apply by Maryland County. Each Maryland county will have at least 1 new dispensary awarded in the First Round. After that, the number of dispensaries awarded in any Maryland county will be based on population and market demand. The Maryland Cannabis Administration will conduct a lottery for each Maryland county.

>For Growers, Processors, and Incubator Space licenses, applicants will apply by REGION (not county). The lottery will be conducted separately for each region.

The applications will only be scored on a pass/fail basis, and then winners will be determined by a lottery conducted by Maryland State Officials.

What Should I Be Doing Now If I Intend to Apply for a Maryland Cannabis License

Now is the time to start putting together your team, and start working on your Business Plan, Operating Plan and Diversity Plan. Now is also the time to consult with a cannabis lawyer to get your business set up, select entity type (LLC vs. C-Corp, vs. S-Corp), select a business name, and create an Operating Agreement and other corporate documents. A lawyer can also help plan how your team will raise money.   A lawyer can also help guide you and your Maryland cannabis team to sources of capital including helping your team apply for grants and loans through the Maryland Cannabis Business Assistance Fund. The purpose of this fund is to assist small, minority owned and women owned businesses entering the adult use cannabis industry.


The most up to date and reliable information about the 2023/2024 cannabis licensing process can be found on the Maryland Cannabis Administration Website at Cannabis Business Licensing (maryland.gov).

What follows is a summary of some of the recent announcements made by the Maryland Cannabis Administration.

In September 2024 the Maryland Cannabis Administration Announced that the time period to submit applications will be from November 13, 2024 to December 12, 2024. In order to apply for this round of licensing applicants must pre-qualify as Social Equity Applicants. For additional information on how to qualify as a Social Equity Applicant, see Office of Social Equity Releases Cannabis Social Equity Eligibility Criteria. The MCA has indicated that the Social Equity Eligibility Portal will be open for 60 days closing on Tuesday November 7, 2023.

75 Standard Dispensary Licenses will be issued during this round, and that applicants need to select which county they will apply in. The MCA has published the number of licenses to be awarded I each county. For example, 11 standard dispensary licenses will be awarded in Baltimore City, 9 in Montgomery County, 9 in Prince George’s County, and 6 in Baltimore County. Applicants need to decide which county they will apply for a dispensary license in and the lottery for licenses will be separate for each county.

The MCA also announced the number of Standard and Micro Grower and Processor licenses that will be awarded this round.   Whereas standard dispensary licenses are awarded by County, Grower, Processor, and Micro-Dispensary licenses are to be awarded by region.  The MCA explained that there are 4 regions—West, South, Central and East. 4 Standard Grow Licenses will be awarded in each region for a total of 16 Standard Grow Licenses. 8 Standard Processer Licenses will be awarded for each region for a total of 32 Standard Processing Licenses. 6 Micro Grower licenses will be awarded for each region for a total of 24 Micro Grower Licenses. 6 Micro Processor Licenses will be awarded for a total 24 Micro Processing Licenses. 2 Micro Dispensary Licenses will be awarded for each region for a total of 8 Micro Dispensary Licenses.

For more information, including the full list of licenses per county and region, see the MCA Application Announcement (Sept. 8, 2023) and Maryland Social Equity Cannabis Verification: A Guide for Applicants.