Maryland Cannabis Administration Releases Social Equity Verification Tool in Preparation for Cannabis Business Licensing

By Yolanda Clarke, Meg Nash

Sep 1, 2023

Today, September 1, 2023, the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) and its Office of Social Equity (OSE) have taken another step toward the first round of adult-use social equity licensing in the state with the announcement that their social equity verification portal will go live on September 8.

This first round of adult-use licensing will be for standard or micro grower, processor, and dispensary license types. Only social equity applicants are eligible to take part in this first round and to qualify, you must first be officially verified as a social equity applicant. Eligible applicants will satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  • Living in a Disproportionately Impacted Area for 5 of the last 10 years immediately preceding the submission of the application

  • Attending a public school in a Disproportionately Impacted Area for at least 5 years

  • For at least 2 years, attending a four-year institution of higher education in the State where at least 40% of the individuals who attend the institution of higher education are eligible for a Pell Grant

A map of the Disproportionately Impacted Areas in Maryland, along with a list of qualifying schools and institutions, is available on the OSE’s website.

Importantly, interested applicants are required to verify their eligibility prior to the application period. Access to the portal will only granted after a Cannabis Business Licensing Interest Form is completed. This form includes an assessment that applicants must receive a perfect score on in order to receive their portal link. The assessment may be taken as many times as necessary to receive that perfect score, and is intended to ensure that all potential applicants understand the upcoming application process. There is no fee to submit the Cannabis Business Licensing Interest Form or to utilize the verification portal.

The verification portal will open on September 8 for 60 days, closing on November 7. Interested applicants will receive a personalized link to the portal after successful completion of the form and a perfect score on their assessment. All parties should receive their link within 2 business days of submission. Once access is granted, applicants will need to provide documentation demonstrating that they satisfy at least one of the social equity criteria.

The Maryland market is an exciting opportunity, with $87.4 million in sales in its first month alone of adult-use sales. Please reach out to Meg Nash at to learn more! 

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