Is weed legal in Maryland?
Yes and no. In Maryland, marijuana is legal for the medical purposes of patients and caregivers who are registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). Cannabis for adult or recreational use remains illegal.
Possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis for recreational or adult use is a civil offense that can result in a fine of up to $100. Subsequent offenses can result in higher fines. A fourth offense or possessing more than 10 grams can result in a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Maryland’s HB 881, the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission legislation, was signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2014. HB 881 created the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) and charged it with establishing regulations for the legal consumption, cultivation, possession, and distribution of cannabis products to patients 18 and older.
MMCC released its regulatory changes in August 2019. They added dentists, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and podiatrists to the list of eligible providers and made a few administrative changes.
The MMCC oversees all licensing, registration, inspection, and testing pertaining to Maryland’s medical marijuana program. It also runs the registry for patients and caregivers and ensures that medical marijuana is made available in a safe and effective manner.
Where is it safe to purchase weed in Maryland?
MMCC has set the purchase limit at 120 grams (4 ounces) of usable cannabis or 36 grams (1 ounce) total THC in a rolling 30-day period. Physicians can recommend more. Edible cannabis products are not available from dispensaries in Maryland since cannabis-infused food and beverages are prohibited.
Patients and caregivers can only purchase medical marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries. If patients are unable to make the purchase themselves, they may designate up to two caregivers to buy and deliver medical marijuana on their behalf. Some dispensaries may deliver medical marijuana to the patient’s home.
Finding licensed dispensaries in Maryland
Registered patients can find licensed dispensaries in Maryland and search by cities including Baltimore, Annapolis, and Westminster. Many dispensaries in Maryland offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.
Where is it safe to consume cannabis?
Cannabis consumption must take place on private property.
Consuming cannabis in public, in a parked or moving vehicle, or where smoking is forbidden is against the law. Riding a bicycle under the influence of cannabis also is illegal.
Maryland law does not protect patients from performing tasks under the influence of cannabis that would constitute negligence.
Only patients in the registry and their designated caregivers can legally possess medical cannabis. For each 30-day period, qualifying patients can possess up to 120 grams (4 ounces) of dried cannabis at one time or up to 36 grams (1 ounce) of THC in infused products. Health care providers may stipulate less on the certificate and they can also recommend more. MMCC regulations prohibit home cultivation for patients and caregivers.
Possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis for adult or recreational use is a civil offense that can result in a fine of up to $100. Subsequent offenses can result in higher fines. A fourth offense or possessing more than 10 grams is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Medical marijuana registry
The MMCC oversees a registry for patients and their caregivers. Once registered, Maryland patients must receive a written certification from a state-licensed physician registered with the MMCC. Patients who have received a physician’s certification and completed the MMCC application can purchase medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary.
Caregivers are required to register and purchase ID cards from the MMCC before they can obtain marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary. Patients younger than 18 are required to have at least one adult caregiver at all times. Only parents and legal guardians of minor patients are eligible to serve as their caregivers. MMCC registration is valid for three years, and a physician’s certifications are valid for up to one year.
- 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
Other chronic, severe medical conditions if other treatments have been ineffective and the doctor believes medical cannabis can provide relief. Anyone can petition the MMCC to add medical conditions to the list.
Patient application process
Applications are filled out and processed online. Each applicant will need to:
- Register with the MMCC as a patient. If the patient is a minor, their parent or legal guardian must register first.
- Provide an electronic copy of a valid, government-issued ID. If the ID doesn’t include an address, the applicant must provide proof of residency.
- Upload an electronic copy of a clear, color photo suitable for passport use.
- Pay the $50 application fee or provide a VA or Maryland Medical Assistance Program card to waive the fee.
- Verify the account by clicking the link in the registration email.
- Make a note of the Patient ID Number to give to a physician.
- Designate a caregiver, if needed.
- Visit a physician who is registered with MMCC and obtain a written certification.
- Log in to the MMCC registry to print a temporary patient ID card.
- Purchase cannabis from a licensed dispensary.
Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and may provide care for up to five patients. They must be appointed by a patient before they register unless they are registering to care for a minor. Caregivers are required to register with and purchase ID cards from the MMCC before they can purchase marijuana from any state-licensed dispensary. Once approved, caregivers can log in to the state registry to select a patient. Caregiver registration is valid for two years.
Caregiver application process
- Submit an electronic copy of a valid US government-issued photo identification and proof of Maryland residency.
- Complete and submit the online application form on the MMCC Registry website.
- Receive approval from the MMCC.
- Select the patient in the caregiver registry.
- Purchase a caregiver ID card for $50.
While Maryland initially offered reciprocity to out-of-state patients, it no longer does.
The MMCC requires growers to contract with independent testing laboratories to ensure that all safety and quality assurance requirements are met. Certified labs must test for the following:
- Cannabinoids and potency
- Foreign matter
- Heavy metals
- Microbiological contaminants
- Residual solvents