Maryland is moving forward with cannabis legalization, creating exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs through the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA). One standout opportunity is the cannabis microbusiness, which goes beyond just selling and includes cultivation, processing and distributing. If you’re thinking about getting a microbusiness license in Maryland’s growing cannabis market, the time is now. MCA started accepting license applications on November 13, 2023, making it a great moment to dive into this expanding industry.
In this post, we’ll discuss the essential steps on how to apply for a microbusiness license in Maryland.
Types of Microbusiness Licenses in Maryland
- Micro Growers License
- Micro Processor License
- Micro Dispensary License
What is the License Application Submission Timeline?
- Opening Date: November 13, 2023
- Closing Date: December 12, 2023
Note: The application window is open for 30 days until December 12, 2023, closing at 5 PM.
What Exactly is a Micro Growers License?
A micro grower license allows you to cultivate and package cannabis. Additionally, it grants authorization to supply cannabis to fellow licensees and deliver to registered independent testing laboratories.
What Exactly is a Micro Processor License?
A micro processor license authorizes the licensee to transform cannabis into various products or extracts, and package and label these cannabis products. Operating under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 14.17.11 guidelines, the Micro Processor licensee is also permitted to supply cannabis to licensed dispensaries and independent testing laboratories.
What Exactly is a Micro Dispensary License?
Micro dispensary licensee is authorized to run a delivery service as per COMAR 14.17.01, but is not allowed to operate a physical storefront. Additionally, the licensee cannot employ more than 10 individuals in the facility.
How are Micro Business Licenses Distributed in Maryland?
- 24 Micro Growers – Six in each of the four regions
- 24 Micro Processors – Six in each of the four regions
- 8 Micro Dispensary License – Two in each of the four regions
What are the Fees for Application Process?
Micro cannabis license applicants are required to pay a $1,000 fee and each candidate is required to submit the fee through either a credit card or automated clearing house (ACH) transfer according to the MCA guidelines. Kindly note that the application fee is nonrefundable.
What are the Licensing fees for a Microbusiness License?
According to the COMAR 14.17.07, for a micro license fee are:
- Micro Grower license—$10,000
- Micro Processor license—$10,000
- Micro Dispensary license—$10,000
These fees are valid for a 5-year period.
How To Apply For A Microbusiness License In Maryland
Applicants must familiarize themselves with Maryland’s cannabis laws (Alcoholic Beverages and Cannabis Article §§36-101 et seq.) and regulations (COMAR Title 14, Subtitle 17) for licensing and operational compliance.
What are the Microbusiness License Application Guidelines?
A non-refundable application fee of $1,000 for microbusiness license.
Registration with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation for the applicant entity.
Applicants must provide redacted and unredacted copies of key components, such as a detailed operational plan for secure cannabis operations, a business plan to provide detailed business expertise and conditions for success, and a clear diversity plan.
A verification report from Creative Services, Inc., confirming that the applicant holding at least 65% ownership and control meet the statutory criteria to be recognized as a social equity applicant
A capitalization table for the prospective licensed entity.
Where to Submit Your Microbusiness License Application?
To simplify the application process, submit all cannabis business license applications via the Maryland OneStop portal. Begin by registering an account at https://onestop.md.gov/, where you can easily upload necessary documents and provide the required information, ensuring a smooth and efficient submission.
What are the Microbusiness License Application Requirements in Maryland?
- Apply for a license with the Administration.
- Follow the requirements in Alcoholic Beverages and Cannabis Article, § 36-404, Annotated Code of Maryland.
- Use the designated form provided by the Administration for completion.
- Include the application fee specified in COMAR 14.17.21.
- Social equity status can be verified by the Administration before application.
- Submitted social equity information is part of the application and subject to verification.
- No property ownership required to apply for a cannabis business license.
What Factors Can Provide a Competitive Edge Over Others?
- Submit a thorough supplemental license application which includes criminal history and financial background checks for all owners and investors.
- Specify a physical location and establish legal control of the premises.
- Secure zoning or planning approval from a political subdivision if required.
- Successfully undergo health, safety, and security inspections.
- Keep registration information updated with the State Department of Assessment and Taxation.
- Seek additional funding through grants, loans, or additional investors if needed
Do Standard and Microbusiness License Applications Have the Same Application Process?
Certainly. The application process for standard and microbusiness licenses in Maryland is quite similar. However, when applying, you can select your license type, and all applications follow the templates provided by the Maryland Cannabis Administration. Keep in mind that responses, workbooks, and capital requirements may vary depending upon the license preferences.
What can Disqualify Your Microbusiness License Application in Maryland?
To ensure the application is not disqualified, applicants must timely submit their applications, meeting all requirements by the set deadline. The MCA may reject or disqualify applications that are incomplete, contain false information, or miss the deadline. Also, individuals are prohibited from submitting more than one application for the same license or more than two applications across all categories in a single round. So, any violation will result in disqualification and set you aside from the race.
What Else to Keep in Mind?
Before submitting an application, applicants should organize and have the required documents ready for submission. Secure your Social Equity status with a verification report from the Social Equity Verification Portal. Use MCA provided templates for your operations plan, business plan, and diversity plans. Ensure your application meets minimum qualifications for a chance at a conditional license in the lottery. Focus on required details such as extra information that impact the evaluation.
Securing a dispensary license or microbusiness license in Maryland opens doors to diverse opportunities within the cannabis industry. This license allows you to participate in cultivation, processing, and dispensing, providing a flexible position in the evolving terrain of Maryland’s cannabis microbusiness. Stay informed, adhere to guidelines, and embrace the chance to play an essential role in this thriving sector.
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