Maryland could see as many as 4,000 applications for just 179 cannabis business licenses before the application deadline in mid-December, an official with the Maryland Cannabis Administration said this week.
The state opened applications Monday for its first round of recreational cannabis business licenses, which is focused on social equity applicants. Anyone looking to apply for a license had to first get pre-approved through a social equity verification portal that closed Nov. 7 and was designed to determine who fit the basic requirements for a license. The state recorded 1,245 verified applicants as of Nov. 16, said Andrew C. Garrison, chief of the Office of Policy and Government Affairs at the Maryland Cannabis Administration. The state has 900 applications to process before knowing the final count of possible applicants, he added.
The next task before the state is to try and preserve the integrity of the high-stakes application process by cracking down on endemic fraud in the industry, while still making the process simple enough to provide an opportunity for underrepresented people to enter the lucrative industry.
Under state rules, one person can only be associated with one application for each of the six license types and no more than two applications within a given round. This means that even if every person applies for the maximum number of licenses, the state shouldn’t see much more than 4,000 applications, depending on how many of the remaining 900 people qualify as social equity, Garrison said.