Maryland’s HB 881, the Medical Marijuana — Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission legislation, was signed by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley on April 14, 2014. HB 881 charged the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) with establishing regulations for the legal consumption, cultivation, possession, and distribution of cannabis and cannabis products for medical use.
Although HB 881 was passed in 2014, the first medical cannabis sale did not take place until December 1, 2017. Currently, possession of cannabis for adult or recreational use is still prohibited and can result in fines between $100 for possession of fewer than 10 grams to incarceration for at least 1 year and a minimum $1,000 fine for greater quantities.
The MMCC is responsible for overseeing all licensing, registration, inspection, and testing pertaining to Maryland’s medical cannabis program. The MMCC has developed a registry for patients and caregivers, qualification procedures for them, and regulations to ensure that medical cannabis is made available in a safe and effective manner.
Where is it Safe to Purchase?
Patients and caregivers can only purchase medical cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. If patients are unable to make the purchase themselves, they may designate up to two (2) caregivers to buy and deliver medical cannabis on their behalf.
Some dispensaries may deliver medical cannabis to the patient’s home.
Currently, there are no taxes imposed on medical cannabis.
Edible cannabis products are not available from dispensaries in Maryland. Cannabis-infused foods or beverages are prohibited. The MMCC has not developed regulations regarding the production of medical cannabis in forms such as food and drink.
The certification issued by a provider for a patient identifies the amount of dried flower and THC that the patient may purchase in a 30-day period. The limit is calculated as a rolling 30-day limit from the purchase date, not by calendar month.
Where is it Safe to Consume?
Cannabis consumption must take place on private property.
Consuming cannabis in public, in a parked or moving motor vehicle for either drivers or passengers, or on private property 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 have access of up to 4.23 ounces, or 120 grams of dried cannabis (30-day supply), at one time; and up to 1.27 ounces, or 36 grams, of THC cannabis extract. MMCC regulations prohibit home cultivation for patients and caregivers.
to Be to Consume?
The MMCC developed a registry for patients and their caretakers. Once registered, Maryland patients must receive a written certification from a state-licensed provider registered with the MMCC. Patients who have received a physician’s certification will be entered into the MMCC’s database and can purchase medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary. A patient does not need an ID card from MMCC to participate in the program, however, it is optional for those who wish to travel and purchase from a state with reciprocity.
Caregivers are required to register and purchase ID cards from the MMCC before they can obtain marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary. Patients ages 18 and younger are required to have at least one (1) 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 two (2) years, and physician’s certifications are valid for a maximum of one (1) 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 medical conditions (1) that are severe, (2) for which other treatments have been ineffective, and (3) whose symptoms can be expected to be relieved by medical cannabis.
- Provide proof of residency
- Provide a valid copy of a government issued identification card
- Complete and submit the online application form on the MMCC Registry website.
- Obtain a valid written certification from a provider registered by the MMCC.
- Visit a licensed Maryland dispensary to purchase medical cannabis.
- Purchase an optional ID card, for a fee of $50.
The MMCC has created the online Commission’s Caregiver Registry. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old, and may only provide care for up to five (5) patients. They must be appointed by patients first. Caregivers are also 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 (2) years.
- Submit an electronic copy of valid US government-issued photo identification, and proof of Maryland residency.
- Submit the completed application to MMCC.
- Receive approval from the MMCC. No criminal background check is necessary.
- Select the patient in the caregiver registry.
- Purchase a caregiver ID card for $50.
Any non-Maryland resident, in Maryland for the purpose of receiving medical treatment, is eligible to register as a patient with the MMCC. However, as of December 14, 2017, the MMCC placed a hold on out-of-state patient applicants until further notice. As a result, out-of-state patient applications will not be reviewed at this time, and applicants who live outside the state may not obtain cannabis from any Maryland licensed dispensary.
The MMCC requires growers to contract with one or more independent testing laboratories to ensure that all safety and quality assurance requirements are met. Certified labs must test for the following:
- Heavy metals
- Microbiological contaminants
- Residual matter
This page was last updated on September 26, 2018.