Mary and Main is a Black-owned and woman-owned dispensary located at 8801 Hampton Mall Dr. in Capitol Heights. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
Mary and Main is a Black-owned and woman-owned dispensary located at 8801 Hampton Mall Dr. in Capitol Heights. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Cannabis Officially Legalized in Maryland

Recreational cannabis became legal in Maryland on July 1, with most adults now eligible to purchase cannabis in flower, concentrate and edibles at dispensaries with just their state ID. Prior to July 1, only those with medical licenses were able to purchase at dispensaries. 

In 2014, cannabis possession in small amounts became a civil offense. Over 226,000 charges and convictions relating to cannabis possession have been recorded in Maryland’s district and circuit courts since cannabis possession was made a civil offense in 2014.

At Mary and Main, a Black-owned dispensary in Prince George’s, customers lined up to buy and learn about cannabis from Hope Wiseman. The Capitol Heights business is one of the few Black-owned cannabis businesses set to benefit from the law change. You can even order online from them, provided you meet the legal requirements. All available dispensaries are listed here by the Maryland Cannabis Administration. 

Adults may possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, 12 grams of concentrates or up to 750 milligrams of edible cannabis products at a time. Marylanders can also grow up to two indoor cannabis plants, as long as they are out of public view.

 “I also believe Marylanders should consider the opportunity of growing our own plants.  It has been reported that gardening is a great way to clear your mind,” said Rita Lynn Lawrence of Seraphim Holistics, a Dunkirk-based cannabis business. “Plus, you will be producing your own self-care resources in growing your cannabis plants. Another option are grow clubs and co-ops which I hear are already forming.”

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has until July 1, 2024, to clear possession cases and the Maryland Judiciary must clear the state’s court case search of any criminal case where possession of cannabis is the only charge, according to the new law. 

“Having a cannabis charge show up in a background check can be like putting an extra barrier in front of you when applying for jobs and promotions,” said Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service staff attorney Chris Sweeney.

However, cannabis remains federally illegal. It is illegal to use or consume cannabis on federal lands, including parks and military bases, or to transport cannabis across state lines. Jobs are still able to drug test their employees. It also remains illegal to offer payment for any amount of cannabis product. While it is illegal for police to use cannabis odor as probable cause to search a vehicle, it does remain illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence.

With the positives of cannabis legalization also comes a negative impact to Maryland’s CBD industry. The cannabis legalization bill caps unregulated sale of THC at 2.5 milligrams per package. 

Patrick Elder, who owns three CBD shops in Maryland, is closing his businesses until he knows for sure he has one of the 300 commercial licenses. 

“Maryland has absolutely, 100%, unequivocally turned their back on the hemp industry,” said Elder. 

If he is unable to get one of those licenses, he will relocate his business to another state. Beyond lost business, he also fears that other CBD shop owners may get shut down or face trouble for operating without a license.

We have previously covered cannabis legalization. Read more here and here

Antwan Brown Elected as Committee Chair

Antwan Brown (D- District 26) was officially voted to serve as the Chair of the Democratic Central Committee following the appointment of former Chair Kent Roberson as Delegate in District 25. Brown, who represents Fort Washington, previously ran for Delegate. 

He was a key leader on the Coordinated Campaign, an effort by state and local Democrats to engage voters between the primary and general election. 

Between now and the 2024 general election, the Committee will register voters and hold monthly meetings. In the event of a Delegate or State Senate vacancy, all Central Committee members vote on the replacement. 

Fort Washington Forward Brings Farmers Market

With the rising summer temperatures, Fort Washington Forward, a farmers market with an eye on providing local produce at reasonable prices to Prince Georgians, has officially returned. Every second Saturday of the month from now until November 18, they will be at Potomac Landing Elementary School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Every fourth Saturday of the month, during the same time block, the market will be at Friendly High School.

Some of the benefits of a farmer’s market over grocery stores are fresher products, local sourcing and safer shipping options. 

‘The average age of a grocery store apple is six to 12 months old,” said Forward Farmer Market’s master gardener Maura Russell. “Whereas, at a farmers market, the potatoes may have been harvested that week! At a farmers market, the produce may be locally grown, healthier, and have better longevity.”

There are also business opportunities that aren’t available in brick-and-mortar grocery stores. 

“We have provided vendor spotlights for our vendors. Some will even offer demonstration stations, where they can show you how to create healthier meal alternatives or teach you how to grow your lettuce,” said Koroma Renaud, the Fort Washington Forward Market Manager. “In a grocery store, farmers and bakers may not get the chance to reap benefits, as their products will be competing against bigger brands.”

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