Can You Grow Weed in Maryland?

Weed, pot, Mary Jane, bud, ganga, reefer, chronic, and herb to name a few but by Maryland law, it is referred to as “cannabis.”
RXD Co Website Blog Post Poster MARYLAND
March 26, 2024 • 7 Min Read
By Alison Lucek
Understanding Cannabis Legislation in the Free State

Regarding cannabis laws, Maryland continues to make good on its renown as the “Free State,” a nickname that began in 1919 when Marylanders opposed prohibition as a violation of their state’s rights.

In fact, with 67.2% of Marylanders voting to approve ballot Question 4 on November 8, 2022, the state is recognized for the highest margin of any ballot measure to legalize cannabis.

In addition to legalized medical marijuana in Maryland, as of July 1, 2023, adults 21+ in the “Free State” are now legally free to grow two marijuana plants per household and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or a total amount that does not exceed 750 mg THC.

Blue Crabs & Green Lines:

Maryland’s History of Cannabis Decriminalization & Legalization

Though the merry land of Maryland became the 18th state to decriminalize minor possession of cannabis in 2014, way back in 1988, Baltimore’s first Black mayor, Mayor Schmoke, was a vocal advocate for decriminalization as an alternative to the failed War on Drugs. Despite the unpopularity of his ideas at the time which sparked national outrage, Schmoke continued the conversation, pressing other leaders on how criminalization created more problems than it solved, including mass incarceration!

For all the noise coming from Baltimore that began in the 80’s, it wasn’t until 2003 that Marylanders took their first big step toward decriminalization with Governor Bob Ehrlich instituting a maximum $100 fine for people using marijuana for pain relief. Though this was an important precursor to the state’s eventual medical cannabis program, the bill did not protect medical marijuana users from arrest.

By 2010, Maryland had the fifth-highest overall arrest rate for marijuana possession in the country, with 409 arrests per 100,000 residents.

The state’s marijuana arrests made up 49.9% of all drug possession arrests and Black people were 2.9 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Significant cannabis reform in Maryland really began in 2014 with the actions of Governor Martin O’Malley who brought a new wave of green to the state. O’Malley signed HB881 into law in June, legalizing medical use and establishing the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to oversee the production and distribution of medical marijuana. Then on October 1 of the same year, Maryland decriminalized minor cannabis possession of 10 grams or less, making it a civil (non-arrestable) offense.

A few years later in 2016, possession of paraphernalia and smoking in public were both reclassified as civil, rather than criminal offenses, making them punishable with fines alone, not arrest.

Then on December 1, 2017, the MCCC began regulating the sale of medical cannabis to registered patients and in 2019, the Marijuana Legalization Workgroup began considering a legislative path forward for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state. In that same year, in Pacheo v State of Maryland, the Court of Appeals ruled that an odor of burnt marijuana along with the possession of under 10 grams does not warrant probable cause for police to search and arrest a person.

Though the first attempts at legalization came in 2021, but in the form of a bill that never made it out of committee. Finally on November 8, 2022, when the decision for legalization was put directly to voters on the general election ballot as HB1 (Question 4), the merry men and women of Maryland voted to pass a referendum to legalize cannabis.

The following spring, the Maryland Legislature passed the Cannabis Reform Act which Governor Wes Moore signed into law on May 3, 2023, legalizing adult-use cannabis in the state as of July 1, 2023. Existing medical dispensaries began sales to adult-use consumers on July 1 and in late 2023, the Maryland Cannabis Administration began accepting applications for new cannabis business licenses. Only verified social equity applicants were eligible for this first round of licensing. All qualifying applicants were entered into a randomized lottery that was scheduled to begin drawing on January 1, 2024.

In this 2024 state legislative session, lawmakers continue to seek further reform of Maryland's cannabis policies to provide key anti-discrimination cannabis protections including a measure that would prevent most employers from discriminating against employees for cannabis use outside of work and job applicants for testing positive for cannabinoids or cannabis metabolites.

The Garden Is Only a Light Green: Growing Marijuana in Maryland

Yes, you can grow weed legally in Maryland, but don’t put that green thumb to work for growing pot in MD! The state known for its blue crabs won’t be known for its green gardens just yet.

Regardless of the number of individual adults residing at one location, Marylanders 21+ are legally allowed to cultivate up to two cannabis plants and no more. As common with home grow laws across the country, plants must be secured and out of public view with the consent of the property owner.

The only exception to the two-plant household limit applies to medical patients who can legally grow up to four plants at their home. But similarly, no matter how many medical cardholders live on a particular property, the four-plant limit applies.

Mary Jane in Maryland: Cannabis Use & Possession

Marijuana may be called many things: weed, pot, Mary Jane, bud, ganga, reefer, chronic, and herb to name a few but by Maryland law, it is referred to as “cannabis.”

As of July 1, 2023, adults 21 and older can purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries without a medical card. The Cannabis Reform Act which legalized cannabis in Maryland, established the adult “personal use” limit as no more than 750 mg of THC at one time, even if that amount comes in different forms of cannabis products.

While recreational use and possession of cannabis and cannabis products is legal for adults 21+, Maryland law has defined possession amounts for “personal use” and “civil use.”

Adult “Personal Use”

Maryland personal use is defined as possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, up to 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, cannabis products containing up to 750 mg strength delta-9-THC. As part of the new law, Marylanders are also allowed to grow up to two cannabis plants in their home. Possession in excess of these limits is punishable with a fine up to $100.

Adult “Civil Use”

Civil use possession is defined as more than the personal use amounts named above, but less than 2.5 ounces of cannabis, 20 grams of concentrated cannabis, or cannabis products containing more than 750 mg but less than 1250 strength delta-9-THC. Civil use violations can be fined up to $250.

Although police must issue citations for personal and civil cannabis possession violations, these citations are not classified as crimes which means they do not result in arrest, jail time, or a criminal record. Possession of more than the civil use amount of cannabis and cannabis products qualifies as a criminal misdemeanor and can result in criminal charges, punishable by up to a $1000 fine and up to 6 months in jail.

Medical Use

To register for a Patient ID Card through the Maryland Cannabis Association (MCA), Maryland residents with a chronic or debilitating disease must obtain written certification from a provider with whom they have a “bona fide provider-patient relationship.” Once qualified, Maryland patients can obtain medical cannabis from a Maryland-licensed dispensary. Standard medical patient possession limits 120 grams of cannabis flower and/or 36 grams of THC in infused products and the at-home cultivation of no more than four plants per residence.

Though a provider may certify a patient for more or less than the standard amount. The amount available for purchase is calculated on a rolling 30-day cycle, not based on the calendar month. Exceeding the physician-imposed 30-day limit allowed for acquisition and possession exposes patients to legal penalties.

Common Sense Use

Maryland law prohibits smoking weed in public places and classifies violation as a civil offense penalized by up to $50 fine for first-time offenders.

Though Maryland has licensed on-site consumption establishments at which individuals can consume cannabis in its many forms including smoking and vaping it outdoors, indoor smoking at these sites is still prohibited.

It is illegal to consume cannabis inside a vehicle or drive while under the influence, and that includes the intoxicating effects of marijuana. Before getting behind the wheel, the Maryland Cannabis Commission recommends waiting at least six hours after cannabis use or consumption and even though you don’t need a Maryland-issued ID to buy marijuana in the state, it is illegal to transport the drug across state lines.

Sale, & Sharing

While possession is legal, the sale of cannabis by anyone other than the state-licensed businesses is illegal and punishable as a criminal misdemeanor. Cannabis business licenses include those for dispensaries, growers, processors, incubator spaces, on-site consumption establishments, and micro licenses.

Like alcohol and tobacco, consumers must present a government-issued ID to show proof of age 21+ to purchase cannabis and cannabis-derived products including edibles, vape cartridges, and oils—all of which are legal to purchase under the same rules that govern flower.

As with alcohol sales in Maryland, there is a 9% tax on cannabis sales in the state. This tax revenue is used to fund operation of the Maryland Cannabis Administration which regulates cannabis businesses and enforces the state laws that govern cultivation and sales. Any remaining revenue is intended to support reparations in communities disproportionately damaged by the War on Drugs.

As of July 2, 2023, adults 21+ are also allowed to share cannabis with another adult within the same limited amounts defined under the law governing “personal use.” No money or other form of remuneration may be exchanged.

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