What can Marylanders expect when recreational cannabis is legal? Sun reporters answer reader questions.

By Fourth of July weekend, people old enough to legally drink in Maryland will also be allowed to have up to an ounce and a half of cannabis and to grow up to two plants. How recreational marijuana will be incorporated into the marketplace and communities, however, is still being defined. With the state lawmakers who will decide entering the home stretch of their 90-day legislative session, Baltimore Sun state government reporters Hannah Gaskill and Sam Janesch hosted an “Ask Me Anything” on the Maryland subreddit to answer questions about the policies and process. Edited for length and clarity, this is a sampling of the discussion.

Is everything expected to be in place for July 1 retail store openings? Will any existing medical dispensaries convert to retail? (asked by Reddit user OscarImposter)


Lawmakers are working on an aggressive timeline to get at least some recreational cannabis licenses operating by July 1. And that first round will only be medical marijuana license holders who will be able to convert their licenses into new medical and recreational licenses. It would be up to those license holders to use their existing infrastructure to begin selling cannabis products. Separate rounds of new cannabis licenses — for dispensaries, growers and processors — would begin later (The bill describes that beginning “on or before” Jan. 1, 2024.)

Would the bills currently under consideration prevent employers from testing for cannabis use? (asked by Reddit user SaxyOmega90125)


The bill as drafted doesn’t prevent employers from testing. There was discussion during the bill’s hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee about how to handle testing, with stakeholders in construction speaking to the importance of testing in their industry.

How is the wealth/opportunity gap shaping up in terms of revenue distribution and potential entrepreneurial equity? (asked by Reddit user ATastefulCrossJoin)

This is a key talking point for many lawmakers after many of them saw the rollout of medical cannabis as inequitable. The first round of new licenses for growers, distributors and processors will go exclusively to “social equity applicants” — those who live in or went to school in areas of the state that were “disproportionally impacted” by the criminalization of cannabis. The specifics of that would be largely left to an Office of Social Equity that lawmakers would create.

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Do you think the taxes on recreational cannabis will force users back to local dealers? (asked by Reddit user half_ton_tomato)

This is one of the toughest challenges lawmakers are facing, and why they’re trying to get the legal industry up and running as soon as possible. They believe the 6% sales tax in the first year is a low enough rate to discourage people from using unlicensed dealers. That tax increases 1 percentage point each year to max out at 10%, but it will be interesting to see if they revise that timeline this year or in the future if they’re not seeing the kinds of sales they hope for.

Will there be any restrictions on where people can use marijuana? What if marijuana use is determined to have contributed to a car crash? (asked by Reddit user warda8825)

Cannabis use would be prohibited while driving, in/on motor vehicles, in public places or on private property with a “no cannabis” policy. The bill also has a provision that would allow homeowners’ associations and boards of directors for condos to impose “no cannabis” policies. As it is now, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs would be illegal.

With medical cannabis, the state set a pretty high bar for testing for quality and safety. Is the legislature going to carry that over to the recreational market? (asked by Reddit user SlySnootles)


Yes, cannabis products sold or marketed will need to be tested by an independent testing lab and meet testing protocols determined by a new enforcement division.

Read the complete AMA on r/Maryland at