Maryland offers funds to help medical marijuana operators move into adult use

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Maryland is offering grants and loans to help existing medical marijuana companies move into the state’s impending adult-use cannabis market.

The funding announced June 1 by the Maryland Department of Commerce will be offered in two initial rounds:

  • Grants to help with the cost of license conversion from medical to recreational.
  • Grants or loans of “startup capital and operating expenses” to help social equity licensees become operational.

The first round of funding for license conversion includes grants of up to $25,000 for dispensary licensees and up to $50,000 for processor and grower licensees, prioritizing “license owners located in areas that were disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition.”

Eligible existing license holders must be considered a small business with no more than 50 employees, and “at least 51% of the business’ owners must have a personal net worth not exceeding $1.7 million.”

Grant applications are being accepted through June 30.

The second round of applications for conditional grants and loans used for startup capital and operating expenses opens Aug. 1, aimed at “eligible social equity licensees that received stage one pre-approval before October 1, 2022.”

“Applicants must be able to demonstrate that with a requested amount of funding they will become operational within a period of time to be announced,” according to a commerce department news release.

Future funding rounds will be available “to Historically Black Colleges and Universities for cannabis-related programs; to businesses applying for licenses; and to business development organizations, including incubators,” the agency noted.

“Funding will also be available to train and assist small businesses, including minority and women business owners and entrepreneurs who are seeking to become licensed to participate in the adult-use cannabis industry.”

The funding program has $80 million available, with $40 million in fiscal year 2023 and another $40 million in fiscal year 2024, the Washington Business Journal reported.

It will also receive 5% of cannabis tax revenue through the 2028 fiscal year.

Adult-use marijuana sales in Maryland are expected to begin July 1.

The state’s recreational marijuana legislation was designed to give an advantage to existing MMJ operators.