Know Your Rights: The Basics of Maryland Cannabis Law
Though the state of Maryland legalized medical marijuana in 2014, it took three years for dispensaries to finally open their doors to medical patients. The medical marijuana program officially launched on December 1, 2017.
Maryland residents over the age of 18 can get a medical marijuana recommendation from a state-approved provider. Patients under 18 years of age will need a parent or legal guardian willing to administer the medicine. Home cultivation is currently not allowed in Maryland. Patients can purchase their medicine from established and operating medical marijuana dispensaries in Maryland. Dispensaries are permitted to sell cannabis flower alongside other cannabis products including vapor cartridges, oils, concentrates, topicals, wax, pills and accessories. Patients can add extracts to foods at home, but edibles are not available for sale in Maryland dispensaries.
qualifying conditions in Maryland include:
Severe muscle spasms and seizures
Wasting syndrome or cachexia
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Medical cannabis patients are allowed to possess a 30-day supply of medicine. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission defines a 30-day supply as no more than 120 grams of medical cannabis unless their physician specifically recommends more. As for cannabis-infused products, 36 grams of THC is recognized as a 30-day supply.
For non-medical patients, the legal repercussions of cannabis possession are far less damaging than just a few years ago. As of October 2014, adults over the age of 21 will only be fined a maximum of $100 for a civil offense (comparable to a traffic ticket) for the possession of 10 grams or less. Individuals under the age of 21 caught with 10 grams or less will be fined a maximum of $1,000 and required to complete a drug education program.
The decriminalization of cannabis was a huge sign of progress in the state. Prior to this change, Maryland had the fifth highest arrest rate for cannabis possession in the country. In an effort to reverse the damage of criminal arrests, the state recently passed a bill (SB 949) that allows people who were convicted of marijuana possession to clear their record. The bill reduced the waiting period from ten to four years before being eligible for expungement.
Consuming Your Medicine Legally
Now that you have access to medical grade cannabis, you need to understand where you can legally consume your medicine. Patients are not allowed to consume any cannabis products on-site at a dispensary, in public or in a motor vehicle. As for home use, it depends on the property owner. Always check with your landlord or building management. If the property owner prohibits consumption, unfortunately, as a medical patient you still can’t consume cannabis there.
Yes, the medical cannabis laws are still a bit restrictive. However, with time, grassroots activism and continued lobbying, we expect that these limitations will evolve.