Adult Use 101

Understanding the New Age of Cannabis in Maryland

This comprehensive section is designed to navigate you through the exciting new era of legalized cannabis in Maryland for adults aged 21 and over. This will delve into the critical aspects of cannabis legalization, from understanding the boundaries set by quantitative possession limits, to the ramifications of exceeding these limits. We will also explore the pertinent sections of the Maryland Code that govern these new rules and regulations. Our aim is to equip you with the essential knowledge you need to responsibly enjoy the benefits of this historic legalization while staying within the confines of the law. Let’s embark on this journey of understanding together, ensuring that you’re well-prepared and informed about this significant shift in Maryland’s cannabis landscape.

The Legalization of Cannabis for Adults in Maryland

The journey towards the legalization of cannabis for adults in Maryland has been quite the ride. This transformation unfolded over several key dates, reports, and studies leading up to the day when adults 21 years and over could legally use cannabis from July 1, 2023. Here’s an easy-to-understand timeline of the journey to legalization.

On November 8, 2022, Maryland voters turned a new leaf in state history. They approved a ballot referendum, widely referred to as “Question 4”, that would legalize the use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and above, effective July 1, 2023. This referendum received the nod from roughly 67 percent of Maryland voters, a strong indicator of the shift in public opinion towards cannabis.

On December 30, 2022, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) turned in a crucial report on hemp-derived Non-Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol products to the Maryland General Assembly. This report was part of the conditions set by the Acts of 2022, which mandated a comprehensive study on the classification and regulation of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), excluding delta-9-THC.

The MMCC also released the Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient Survey (MMCPS-22) Report on March 1, 2023. This ground-breaking report investigated usage patterns, risk perceptions, and occurrence of high-risk behaviors among medical cannabis patients. The study surveyed data from over 13,000 patients, making it one of the largest studies of its kind.

Then, on April 8, 2023, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Cannabis Reform Act (HB556/SB516​). This Act laid out the legal framework for adult-use cannabis sales starting July 1, 2023, and allowed licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis to adults aged 21 and above. It also introduced a new overseeing body – the Maryland Cannabis Administration.

Governor Wes Moore formalized the Cannabis Reform Act on May 3, 2023. This act of signing it into law marked the creation of the Maryland Cannabis Administration, a body that succeeded the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Finally, on July 1, 2023, the purchase and possession of cannabis for personal adult use became legal in Maryland for adults 21 and above. The existing medical dispensaries were allowed to pay a conversion fee and sell both adult-use and medical cannabis.

Limits for Cannabis Possession

In Maryland, the laws surrounding cannabis possession are pretty straightforward. If you’re 21 or older, there are set limits to how much cannabis you can have on hand. This is referred to as the “personal use amount.”

As an adult of this age, you’re allowed to have up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower. This is the dried, smokable part of the plant. Alternatively, you could possess up to 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, a more potent form of the plant often used in vaporizers or edibles. Additionally, if you have a mix of cannabis products, their total combined amount should not exceed 750 milligrams of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

It’s important to note that these regulations don’t apply to everyone. If you’re under the age of 21, possessing or using non-medical cannabis isn’t permitted under any circumstances.

The law takes over-possession of cannabis seriously. If you’re found with a “civil use amount,” defined as 2.5 ounces or less, you might face consequences. This could include a monetary fine, an obligation to attend drug education programs, or a referral for assessment and treatment of a substance use disorder.

However, the penalties become significantly harsher if you possess more than the “civil use amount.” In this case, you could face criminal charges. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand and adhere to these possession limits to avoid unnecessary legal troubles.

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