01 June 2023- The Maryland Department of Commerce today announced that applications are now open for the first round of funding available through the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund. The fund, which will offer both grants and loans, will help increase small business and entrepreneur capacity to participate in Maryland’s adult-use cannabis industry.
“The Cannabis Business Assistance Fund will help ensure more equitable footing as our medical cannabis license holders transition to recreational marijuana use in Maryland,” said Governor Wes Moore. “The fund promotes equitable economic growth and will empower our small, minority, and women-owned businesses to have a greater stake in this growing industry.”
The first round of assistance offered through the fund is the Medical Cannabis License Conversion Fee Assistance grant, which will provide grants to help existing medical-use licensees with the cost of converting their license to an adult-use license. Processor and grower licensees are eligible for a grant of up to $50,000, and dispensary licensees are eligible for a grant of up to $25,000.
Priority will be provided to license owners located in areas that were disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition. To qualify for a Medical Cannabis License Conversion Fee grant, a license holder must:
- Be a small business, defined as an existing license holder with 0-50 employees per license as of May 1, 2023; and
- At least 51% of the business’ owners must have a personal net worth not exceeding $1.7 million.
A second round of applications will open on August 1 and will be focused on ensuring that eligible social equity licensees that received stage one pre-approval before October 1, 2022 have resources available to become operational and participate in the medical and adult-use cannabis industry. Assistance in the form of startup capital and operating expenses will be available as conditional grants or loans.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that with a requested amount of funding they will become operational within a period of time to be announced. Additional details on the second round of applications will be made available in advance of August 1.
Future rounds of funding will be offered to Historically Black Colleges and Universities for cannabis-related programs; to businesses applying for licenses; and to business development organizations, including incubators. Funding will also be available to train and assist small businesses, including minority and women business owners and entrepreneurs who are seeking to become licensed to participate in the adult-use cannabis industry.
“This fund is an important step in reducing barriers and offering equitable opportunities for our small, minority, and women-owned businesses in the medical cannabis industry,” said Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson. “We look forward to working with our business community and Historically Black Colleges and Universities as we continue to diversify this industry.”
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through June 30. For more information and to apply online, visit the Maryland Department of Commerce Cannabis Business Assistance Fund website.
Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.