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How To Apply For A Cannabis Dispensary License in Maryland

How To Apply For A Cannabis Dispensary License in Maryland

How To Apply For A Cannabis Dispensary License in Maryland  

Thinking about opening a cannabis store in Maryland? Good news! You can now apply for a license. The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) started accepting applications on November 13. It’s your chance to join the cannabis business!  

In this post, we’ll cover how to successfully apply for a cannabis dispensary license in the state.  

Can you Apply for a Cannabis Dispensary License in Maryland Now?  

Yes, the 30-day license application window is open from November 13, 2023, to December 12, 2023. That clearly means the applications submitted after December 12, 2023, 5 PM will not be accepted or reviewed by the MCA.  

What Documents are required to obtain a Maryland License Application?  

When you’re applying for a cannabis dispensary license in Maryland, you need to provide the key documents that are crucial for a successful application. So, below we have prepared a list of application documents to help you win the license.  

  1. Social Equity Applicants – A certain percentage of priority is given in the licensing process to social equity applicants. So, it is crucial to meet all the required criteria for it.    
  1. Prepare an Operational Plan- A license must have an operational plan and that should include the following aspects.   

Safety Procedures  

  • Fire Safety  
  • Medical Emergencies  
  • Threatening Events  

Safe Handling of Cannabis Procedures  

  • Sanitary Practices  
  • Storage Procedures  

Workplace Safety Regulations  

Security Plan  

  • Continuous or Motion-Activated Video Surveillance System  
  • Alarm System  

Effectiveness – Plan for Regulatory Adherence  

3. Prepare a Business Plan – This plan must contain the financial workbook of the business. Below are the points that should be mentioned in the business plan.   

18-Month Financial Overview  

  • Funding  
  • Timeline  

18-Month Operational Overview  

  • Premises and Zoning Compliance  
  • Timeline  

Permits and Registrations  

Principal Officers   

  • Name  
  • Title  
  • Roles and responsibilities  
  • Direct reports  

Factors for Success   

  • Preparedness  
  • Aptitude  

Sufficient Ability and Experience  

  • Owning, managing, or founding a business   
  • Working in the cannabis industry   
  • Operating a business that is subject to compliance with laws and regulations Working with consumer goods, other products, or controlled substances    
  • Other work, education, or volunteer experience that may help your proposed business be successful.  

Employee Working Conditions  

4. Detailed Diversity Plan- Crafting a detailed diversity plan is essential to obtaining the dispensary license in Maryland. This plan must contain an action plan outlining how your business will actively recruit, engage, and promote diversity among owners, investors, employees, and contractors.  

Who is Eligible to Apply for a Dispensary License in Maryland?  

In the initial phase of the application process, particular attention is directed towards social equity applicants, aligning with the stipulations of the Cannabis Reform Act. For a business to be considered a social equity applicant, a minimum of 65% ownership and control should be in the hands of individuals who meet the following criteria:  

  • Lived in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five out of the last ten years.  
  • Completed a two-year stint at a 4-year higher education institution in Maryland, where at least 40% of attendees qualify for a Pell Grant.  
  • Attended a public school in such an area for a minimum of five years.  

How Much Does it Cost?  

To initiate the application process, each candidate is required to submit an application fee through either a credit card or automated clearing house (ACH) transfer. The applicable fee:  

  • $1,000 for micro cannabis license applicants   
  • $5,000 for standard cannabis license applicants  

How to Apply for a cannabis dispensary license in Maryland?  

In order to apply for a dispensary license, you need to complete the application form, submit a $5,000 application fee, and provide supporting documentation verifying compliance with all requirements.  

Where to Submit Your Dispensary License Application?  

To streamline the process, all cannabis business license applications are submitted through the Maryland OneStop portal. To get started, register an account and upload essential documents while providing the required information.  

What is the Dispensary Licensing Selection Process in Maryland?  

All applications that meet the minimum qualifications, on a pass/fail basis, will be included in a lottery system to determine the recipients of a conditional license. The MCA will assess it against the minimum requirements outlined on the evaluation worksheet. This includes a business plan, operational plan, and diversity plan.   

How are Licenses Distributed in Maryland?  

Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) has a plan to distribute 179 licenses that include; 75 Standard Dispensaries which will be distributed by county, 16 Standard Growers which will be distributed by region, 32 Standard Processors which will be distributed by region, 24 Micro Growers which will be distributed by region, 24 Micro Processors which will be distributed by region and 8 Micro Dispensaries which will be distributed by region.   


Applying for a cannabis dispensary license in Maryland might seem tricky and complex, but with good planning, you can do it. In case you face difficulty follow the above-mentioned steps diligently. And you can navigate the application process and increase your chances of securing a cannabis dispensary license in Maryland.    


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