Adult-use marijuana legislation failed to pass in Maryland in 2021. However, Maryland voters will likely get a chance to pass cannabis legislation via a voter referendum in 2022, according to House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D).
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; MSOs have evaded the limit by utilizing management agreements wherein MSOs pay annual fees to state-licensed dispensary owners in return for their operations and P&Ls. Consequently, additional rules were adopted in 2019 to limit management service agreements or common ownership to four licenses in total. In 2021, regulators announced medical cannabis licenses and registrations would be handled through the state's general licensing portal, potentially moving things along faster.
August 2021 | Cresco acquires dispensary Blair Wellness Center
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. Patient counts have proliferated, resulting in annualized retail sales over $500MM in the medical market.
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.