Is Weed Legal in Maryland?

Have you ever wanted to go to Maryland but you can’t help but ask, is weed legal in Maryland? Just like you, many people ask this question just to be sure that they wouldn’t get prosecuted and be charged with penalties when they visit the state. 

So, what we did was research all the ins and outs in Maryland to know and be able to identify the necessary rules and regulations as regards cannabis in the state! 

But before we dive right in, let’s try to unravel the background and history of Maryland so we can better grasp the reason why they currently have those rules in place! 

Cannabis in Maryland Timeline 


Maryland may be one of the smallest states in the country, but they have tons to offer visitors and tourists, no wonder why around 35 million people visit it each year! 

Like its sister and brother states, Maryland also has a interconnected timeline of cannabis decriminalization and allowance. It was prohibited before, especially after the state declared it to be a psychoactive drug and an illicit substance, but as the years went on, the government slowly accepted it. 

Let’s look at the timeline of cannabis in the Maryland.  

We can start it at 2010 when the state was the 5th in the highest number of arrests for marijuana possession in the entire country. They had around 409 total arrests per 100,000 residents, making up 49.9% of the total drug arrests in the state. 

2014 Decriminalization of Cannabis and Maryland

Then, come 2014, the first-ever law that sought to decriminalize marijuana was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley. In the law, possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana was decriminalized, causing an infraction similar to being handed a traffic ticket by and officer. 

When it took effect, the law, to be more specific, would have people: 

  • Attend a drug education program
  • Pay a fine not exceeding $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second, and $500 for the third and subsequent offenses

Note that this only involved marijuana, not paraphernalia. 

2016 Medical Cannabis Legalization in MD and Paraphernalia 

The allowance of paraphernalia will later on be pushed through in 2016 when the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill (SB) 517. Paraphernalia were anything that accompanied people’s use of marijuana, including bongs, pipes, rolling papers, clippers, etc. 

It was at this time when the state also gave a thumbs up to medical marijuana in the state. 

2017 Official Selling of Cannabis in MD 

On the 1st of December 2017, just around five (5) years after the delay, the medical marijuana program of the Old Line State began sales and official operations, growing exponentially from the nine (9) dispensaries, 12 processors, and 14 growers in the state. 

Expansion of Medical Cannabis in MD 

From this point on, the government sought it to be a powerhouse. Fast-forward to two (2) years, Maryland’s cannabis program expanded and they had 82 local licensed dispensaries, 18 licensed growers, and about 70,000 registered patients. 

That still doesn’t give us the answer to the question of whether it’s legal or not, right? Don’t worry, that’s what we’ll be discussing! 

The Truth: Is Weed Legal in Maryland? Is Recreational Marijuana Allowed? 

The Truth Is Weed Legal in Maryland Is Recreational Marijuana Allowed

The short and easy answer is yes – recreational cannabis or marijuana is allowed in Maryland, starting on the 1st of July 2023. Therefore, currently, it’s still illegal. 

For the long answer, we’ll have to do some digging as to how this came to be! Let’s look at the timeline following the expansions and the development of the medical cannabis infrastructure in the Old Line State. 

2019 to 2021 Efforts of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana 

In the year 2019, the Marijuana Legalization Workgroup started to think of ways to legalize the use of cannabis for adults in the state. This went on for two (2) years and in 2021, Jazz Lewis, a Prince George’s County Democrat introduced House Bill (HB) 32, legalizing the adult consumption and possession of marijuana. 

This was followed by Senate Bill (SB) 708, which was introduced by State Senator Brian Feldman as they worked together to harmonize and make the two (2) bills go together. 

Mid-2021 was the time that Adrienne Jones, MD House of Delegates Speaker, made the announcement of the referendum that would be laid out as the decision in the legalization of recreational  marijuana in the state. 

The 2022 Referendum 

The referendum or a general vote passed and it would be when voters pass the passing, recreational cannabis will be allowed and legal in the state on or after the 1st of July 2023. This would decriminalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults. 

Fortunately, in April of 2022, MD Governor allowed it to become a law without a veto since the substance is already being used in the state for medical and medicinal purposes. 

Maryland Question 4 has been approved on the 8th of November 2022 garnering a total of 65.6% votes and will be inaugurated on the 1st of July 2023. This new law suggests that: 

  • Adults aged 21 years or older will be allowed to possess 1.5 oz of cannabis or less for recreational use
  • Homeowners or private property owners can grow and maintain up to two (2) cannabis plants – must be out of public view 

This was what the residents of Maryland has been waiting for – and it’s all going to be real in the middle of this year! 

MD Cannabis Penalties, Fees, and Offenses 

MD Cannabis Penalties, Fees, and Offenses

Of course, there will be instances where people would fail to abide by the laws and regulations set by the state as regards the possession, carrying, consumption, and cultivation of cannabis within Maryland. Therefore, penalties and offenses have been set in place for these people – let’s discuss them thoroughly. 

Incorrect Possession of Cannabis 

Possession or carrying of cannabis that is not within the allowed measure would incur fines, offenses, and penalties. These penalties vary, and for you to have a clearer and better understanding of it, here’s a table you can refer to: 

Offense or Amount of Marijuana Penalty ImprisonmentMaximum Fine 
1.5 oz and less (from July 1st 2023)No penaltyNo ImprisonmentNo Fine
Up to 1.5 oz Civil OffenseNo Imprisonment$100
1.5 oz to 2.5 ozCivil OffenseNo Imprisonment$250
2.5 oz – less than 50 lbsMisdemeanor1 year$1,000
50 lbs or moreFelony5 years $100,000

Distribution of Cannabis 

The distribution or sale of marijuana, on the other hand, refers to the exchange of goods for another that has value. One good example would be selling marijuana to other people. Only licensed and authorized dispensaries are allowed to distribute, sell, or deliver marijuana to people who want and need it. 

Offense or Amount of Marijuana Penalty ImprisonmentMaximum Fine 
50 lbs and lessFelony5 years$15,000
50 lbs or moreFelony5 years$15,000
50 lbs or more (Drug Kingpin) Felony20 years to 40 years$1,000,000
In a school vehicle, or in, on, or within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary schoolFelony20 years$20,000
Following violationsFelony5 years – 40 years$40,000
Involving a minorFelony20 years$20,000

Cultivation of Cannabis 

Cultivation of Cannabis

Growing or cultivating cannabis has been approved but only up to a total of two (2) plants per household. Going over that means that you are not abiding by the law and that you are subject to: 

Offense or Amount of Marijuana Penalty ImprisonmentMaximum Fine 
2 plants (from July 1st 2023)No Penalty No ImprisonmentNo Fine

You can check out the possession table as it is the same penalties for cultivation. 


Still have questions? We listed a few of the most frequently asked questions about Maryland and cannabis in particular! So, sit back, relax, and don’t stress out on what’s legal and not! 

Is Smoking Weed in Public Legal in Maryland? 

As of writing, consuming or smoking cannabis in any form is still considered illegal. It will, however, become fully legal on July 1st 2023. That is when the platform for cannabis possession, usage, consumption, sale, and cultivation will all be ironed out. 

What Happens If You’re Caught With Weed in Maryland? 

Currently, being caught with less than 10 grams is considered a civil infraction, which will subject you to attend an education program and pay a fine of up to $100. After the inauguration of the legalization, you’ll only be subjected to a civil offense if you go above 1.5 oz or about 43 grams of marijuana. 

Can I Go to a Dispensary Without a Card in Maryland? 

Medical dispensaries in the Old Line State would require you to have a medical marijuana card in order for you to purchase medicinal or medical marijuana. Failure to do so will automatically omit your chances of being eligible to purchase it. After July 1st 2023, though, adults aged 21 and above will be allowed to purchase cannabis even if they don’t have a card.

Final Verdict  

So, we hope that we’ve clarified and answered your question, is weed legal in Maryland through this article. Don’t try and expedite the process and the law that has already been set to happen – just wait for the time that it’ll be honored and authorized to avoid confrontation – or worse, incarceration! 

Starting the 1st of July 2023, the rulings and laws about cannabis in the state of Maryland will be different – we can’t emphasize on this enough, don’t try to hasten things up! 

Christopher Andrews
I am Christopher Andrew, the owner of 420 Expert Adviser. I have been in cannabis cultivation for more than ten years, and I'm sharing my experience with you guys using this blog!

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