Maryland Senate Committee Approves Regulations For Cannabis Industry

What’s happening?

The Maryland Senate Finance Committee approved on Monday an amended bill regulating the state’s cannabis industry, including the creation of an independent state agency to oversee the soon-to-be legalized industry, William Zorzi reports for Maryland Matters. The committee will now pass the legislation to the Budget and Taxation Committee for approval before heading to the Senate floor. 

What are the specifics of the regulations in the bill?

The committee voted to change the initially proposed graduated tax—starting at 6 percent and increasing to 10 percent by 2028—to a flat tax of 9 percent once cannabis sales become legal in the state on July 1. It also voted to include a provision establishing the Maryland Cannabis Administration, separate from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, to supervise the industry. 

The committee also passed an amendment to create “bumper zones” to prevent dispensaries from opening in concentrated areas, particularly in impoverished urban areas as often seen with liquor stores. The amendment would prohibit dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet from each other and 500 feet from schools, playgrounds, and daycare facilities. 

Anything else I should know? 

The panel also debated several provisions related to dispensaries that ultimately failed. This included an amendment that would exempt dispensaries from the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, allowing residents to smoke cannabis indoors at restaurants or other establishments selling cannabis products. The committee ultimately voted to remove the exemption. Another proposal to protect workers’ rights to organize also failed.  

You can read more here. 

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