Maryland Recreational Cannabis Market Could Generate $450M

Maryland could generate up to $450 million annually in marijuana sales via retail stores if the state legalizes cannabis for recreational use, according to estimates in a plan unveiled by a gubernatorial candidate today.

Heather Mizeur, a Democratic lawmaker who is running for governor, said in her plan to legalize and regulate cannabis sales that retail stores would sell 1.75 million to 2.25 million ounces of marijuana annually.

The average price: about $200 (or $7 a gram). That would equate to $350 million to $450 million annually in cannabis sales.

Under the plan, adults 21 and over could buy and possess up to an ounce of raw marijuana and up to five ounces of concentrated cannabis or infused products – not to exceed THC content of five grams – at any given time.

A veteran of Sen. John Kerry’s office, Mizeur was elected to the state’s House of Delegates in 2006 and helped Maryland legalize same-sex marriage. So far, Mizeur is the only candidate to support legal marijuana.

While there’s a long way to go before this becomes a reality, the plan will help elevate the discussion around medical marijuana and could set a framework for eventually legislation, whether Mizeur wins the governor spot or not.

Surprising, she’s put a lot of thought into the plan already.

Other highlights:

– The state would implement an excise tax of $50 an ounce at the wholesale level and an 8% tax on retail sales.

– All marijuana businesses would have to apply for and receive licenses.

– License applicants would have to be residents of Maryland for at least two years. All employees would need to be residents as well.

– Marijuana would have to be tested and labeled with the results.

– The law would allow one retail shop per 20,000 residents in each county, 2.5 million square feet of cultivation space statewide, one infused products company per 25,000 residents in each county and at least three testing labs statewide

– Application fees would run from $5,000 to $10,000.

– Residents could grow their own cannabis.

– Industrial hemp cultivation would be allowed.