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Maryland marijuana measure prioritizes social equity

today02/06/2023 31

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland is steering toward a recreational marijuana industry with greater social equity, with licenses for minority-owned businesses and proceeds directed to areas adversely impacted by the war on drugs.

Lawmakers said Friday that the measure before the General Assembly will enable the state’s existing medical marijuana businesses to sell recreational cannabis as well _ if they pay a new fee based on the size of the business.

Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment in November with 67% of the vote to legalize recreational marijuana for people 21 and over as soon as July 1. However, lawmakers left details about regulation, licensing and taxation to be taken up this legislative session.

Possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana will be legal by people 21 and over.  The measure, which is about 100 pages, includes a 6% tax in the next fiscal year. It would go up 1% each year to maximum of 10% in fiscal year 2028. Medical marijuana would remain untaxed.

Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat who is the state’s first Black governor, also has underscored the importance of minority participation in the expanded industry. Last month, he released about $46 million relating to implementing recreational cannabis in Maryland.

That included about $40 million for the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund, which is intended to support the growth of small, minority, and women-owned businesses in the recreational cannabis industry.

Source: AP – All contents copyright 2023 Associated Press.  All rights reserved.

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