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Dispensaries   Dispensaries FAQ's    

FAQs – Dispensaries

How many Dispensaries have been pre-approved?

The Commission announced the names of 102 pre-approved Dispensaries on December 9, 2016, however, no final licenses to dispense medical cannabis have been issued.  The pre-approved companies are currently working through Stage Two of the approval process, which includes undergoing criminal background investigations, completing regulatory requirements, securing local zoning approvals, and compliance inspections by the MMCC.   The Commissioners will vote for licensure in a public meeting once compliance with the regulatory requirements is complete. 

Where will dispensaries be located?

The regulations state that there be no more than two dispensaries located in each of the 47 legislative districts in the state, not including the dispensary of a licensed grower who may hold a dispensary license. 

COMAR provides that “A party applying for a grower/processor/dispensary license shall have an interest in only one grower/processor/dispensary license application.”  What does “party” mean?

For this regulation, a party is an investor. An investor may have an interest in only one application. This carries out the legal requirement of Health General Article 13-3306(a)(2)(iv).

What services will a dispensary be able to provide?

Dispensaries may distribute medical cannabis in processed form or dried flower. Dispensaries will also be permitted to supply devices to administer medical cannabis. Dispensaries may offer delivery services to patients.

Will there be a list of licensed dispensaries?

The locations of licensed Dispensaries will be posted on the Commission’s website as each licensed dispensary opens.

Will dispensaries be subject to state inspection?

Yes, all dispensaries located in Maryland will be subject to state inspection.

Can a dispensary lose its license?

Yes. The Commission is authorized to inspect dispensaries on an ongoing basis. In the case of a major deficiency, or a failed inspection, the Commission may take action, including revoking a license to dispense medical cannabis.

What would a Maryland medical cannabis dispensary look like in my community?

The Commission’s regulations and application process are designed so that the successful applicants for medical cannabis dispensary licenses will operate facilities that will not deviate from the character of the streetscape where they are located, and not offend or disrupt the character of the local community.

Maryland law provides that all medical cannabis dispensaries must comply with local zoning and planning requirements.  The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will not license any operation that does not have local zoning and planning board approval.  This means that local rules that govern other medical or retail facilities, where they may be located, and the signage that they are permitted to use will apply to medical cannabis dispensaries in the community.  Failure to carry out the plans spelled out in the dispensary application could result in a fine of $5,000 or the suspension or revocation of the license.

Is the consumption of medical cannabis allowed at the premises of a license dispensary?

No; consumption on the premises is not allowed.  The regulations require patients to sign a statement that they understand that they are not immune from any prohibition on smoking cannabis in a public place or in a motor vehicle, or on private property where it is prohibited by the property owner.   Dispensary operators who violate the regulations or medical cannabis law are subject to fine and the suspension or revocation of their license. 

Regarding zoning and planning approvals, when do I need to provide them to the Commission as part of my license application?

Evidence that the licensed premises comply with all zoning planning requirements needs to be finalized in Stage Two of the application process.

I have located property for my dispensary that is zoned for commercial purposes. Is that satisfactory to the commission?

The Commission will rely upon the zoning and planning approval issued by the local jurisdiction. The local jurisdiction will determine whether a zoning designation that permits retail or commercial activity includes dispensing of medical cannabis. The applicant should take steps to assure that the local jurisdiction has interpreted its zoning code to mean that a commercial or retail zoning designation includes dispensing medical cannabis.

Why do the Maryland regulations exclude “food” from the permissible types of medical cannabis-infused products? Does this mean that all edible forms of medical cannabis are banned?

All “food” produced or sold in Maryland is regulated by the Maryland Office of Food Safety. The Commission has not developed regulations regarding the production of medical cannabis in forms like food.  Licensed processors will produce cannabis in forms such as extracts, oils, and tinctures. Some of those products would be suitable for patients and caregivers to use at home to make a wide variety of edible forms of cannabis. Some of these could also be flavored to increase palatability. Patients will need appropriate guidance and education about edible products.

Why do persons who want to volunteer to work at a licensed medical cannabis grower facility or licensed medical cannabis dispensary have to submit to a criminal background check? Who is a “volunteer?”

The General Assembly described all the persons who work or are affiliated with a licensed medical cannabis grower in the definition of “medical cannabis grower agent” to include “an owner, an employee, a volunteer, an officer, or a director.” Similarly, the General Assembly defined “dispensary agent” to mean “an owner, a member, an employee, a volunteer, an officer, or a director.”  The General Assembly also required that all grower agents and dispensary agents have a criminal background check.

Can a licensed grower also become a processor and a dispenser, (i.e., a vertically-integrated) medical cannabis operation?


Does a “secure transportation company” require a separate license from the State of Maryland?

No; the licensee must provide required agent ID cards to anyone transporting cannabis.

May a transportation agent have a non-Maryland driver’s license?

A transportation agent is not required to hold a Maryland driver’s license.

Can a person with a particular skill be employed part-time by more than one grower, processor, or dispensary?

Yes; however, the agent would need to register multiple registrations at a charge of $200 per registration.

Can a person be an agent for a grower, processor, and a dispensary?

Yes. A person can be an owner in an entity that obtains a license for each class of activity, and therefore would be an agent for each licensee.

What is a “resident”?

A resident is one who lives in Maryland.  A person may demonstrate Maryland residency by providing one or more of the following: 1) Most recent Maryland tax return; 2) Most recent Maryland property tax bill; 3) Local gas and electric bill that is no more than 4 months old; 5) Valid Maryland Driver’s license; or 6) Another record that corroborates the Maryland residency.

A business may be registered to conduct business in the State of Maryland.  They may be either an out-of-state company which is establishing its Maryland existence, and its principal place of business may or may not be Maryland.  Alternatively, the business entity could be a “grass roots” company, meaning a business that was founded in Maryland and maintains its principal place of business in Maryland.  In either eventuality, a business entity may demonstrate its ability to conduct business in the State of Maryland by providing the following: 1) Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization; 2) Certificate of Status (also referred to as a Certificate of Good Standing); and 3) Identification of the Resident Agent.  

Will it be necessary to conduct background checks for employees who do not handle cannabis, such as janitorial staff?

While any subcontractor may be registered with the MMCC, the subcontractor is not required to register with the MMCC.  However, should the subcontractor not be registered with the MMCC, then, they are considered a visitor to a non-public area, and the Grower, Processor, or Dispensary will be required to 1) log the visitor in and out of the premises; 2) retain a photocopy of the visitor’s government-issued identification; 3) continually visually supervise the visitor while on the premises; 4) ensure that the visitor does not touch any plant or medical cannabis; and 5) maintain a log of all visitors to non-public areas for two years.

If our organization obtains a license to be a dispensary and a license to be a processor, may we locate both of the operations to be carried out under these separate licenses at a single location?

Yes, so long as the building is constructed so that the processor and dispensary are two completely different units, each with an address which is independent of the other, they may share one common roof.  However, the two premises must each have a separate means of ingress and egress, and under no circumstances may the two premises have any means of internal ingress or egress between the dispensary or processor.

If, pursuant to COMAR, a dispensary agent confiscates a patient or caregiver identification card from a person to whom it has not been issued, and then returns it to the Commission, does the dispensary or the dispensary agent need to submit an incident report?

The regulations do not specify or require that a report accompany the return of the confiscated patient ID card. However, it would be a good practice for the dispensary to prepare an explanation of why it is transmitting a patient or caregiver ID card to the Commission.

Before a patient can receive medical cannabis at a dispensary, the patient has to sign a statement (“attest”) that the patient understands, among other things, that “scientific research has not established the safety of the use of medical cannabis by pregnant women,” and that the use of medical cannabis is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Are these warning adequate, especially the warning regarding the question of the safety of the use of medical cannabis by pregnant women?

Yes; the Commission believes that these statements, acknowledge that each time a patient obtains medical cannabis will reinforce the need for caution to protect against the misuse of medical cannabis obtained from Maryland dispensaries.  The Commission reviewed the studies that have been published regarding cannabis use and pregnancy and determined that this warning is an accurate statement of the conclusions that can be made from the scientific evidence, and is sufficient to guide patients to be cautious.

How much medical cannabis and medical cannabis-infused product can a patient obtain in 30 days?

The General Assembly directed the Commission to determine the amount of medical cannabis that would constitute a 30-day supply.  Medical cannabis and medical cannabis-infused products will vary in their cannabinoid profile and potencies.  The Commission wanted to ensure that patients would be able to obtain sufficient medical cannabis each month to provide relief of their symptoms, and established 120 grams of usable cannabis (primarily dried flower) as a 30-day supply.

The Commission also recognized that medical cannabis-infused products could not be measured in the same way as usable cannabis, and set a limit of 36 grams of THC as a 30-day supply.  Each batch of usable cannabis will state the THC quantity (expressed as a percentage). The dispensary will calculate the weight of the THC in each transaction of usable cannabis, and will not dispense medical cannabis-infused products in a 30 day period that exceeds the 36 gram limit. 


Last Updated: 1/25/2017