Adult-use marijuana legislation failed to pass in Maryland in 2021 and will not be reintroduced for at least another year.
Although licensing fees are among the highest in the nation, the opportunity is well worth the price tag. Maryland has been slowly rolling out more retail licenses as operators must go through a rigid process wherein the regulatory body governs all supply chain aspects.
Each operator is limited to one retail license. Still, the MSOs have evaded the limit by utilizing management agreements wherein they pay annual fees to state-licensed dispensary owners, who then effectively turn over their operations and P&Ls. In 2019, additional rules were adopted to limit management service agreements or common ownership to four licenses in total. In 2021, regulators announced that medical cannabis licenses and registrations will be handled through the state’s general licensing portal, potentially moving things along faster.
November 2020 | TerrAscend acquires HMS Health from Curaleaf
September 2020 | 4Front sells three dispensaries to Ethos
July 2019 | Curaleaf acquires Grass Roots which includes Maryland footprint
Maryland enjoys a robust medical market with substantial revenues and limited licenses. With patient counts and monthly revenues proliferating in the Free State, existing license holders struggle to keep up with demand.
MSOs will continue to invest in this market, as license limits allow for handsome profits. Financial investors should be comfortable deploying capital behind solid operators in the state.
New Jersey's adult-use legislation will be a catalyst for many states in New England. As a result, expect Maryland to accelerate the process to expand its medical program and work towards adult-use once COVID is contained.