- The cultivation of industrial hemp was legalized in Maryland under the 2015 Maryland House Bill 803. The cultivation, possession, processing, selling, and purchasing of industrial hemp is allowed in the state, provided the hemp contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)(1).
- Medical marijuana is also legal in the state with the passage of the 2014 Maryland House Bill 881. State law allows patients and caregivers to purchase marijuana to treat certain medical conditions(2).
- While the medical use of marijuana is legal in Maryland, carrying small amounts of marijuana is illegal under the 2014 Maryland Senate Bill 364(3). Individuals caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana may face civil penalties.
- Prescription is unnecessary when buying CBD products in the state. However, purchasing medical marijuana has much stricter regulations.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Maryland?
Industrial hemp became federally legal in the United States under the 2018 Farm Bill. However, the states have varying laws about the legality of CBD and medical cannabis.
In Maryland, CBD is legal, and customers may purchase CBD products without a prescription.
Although medical marijuana is also legal in the state, the recreational use of marijuana is still banned.
Currently, there are no CBD possession limits in Maryland. There are no limits to how much CBD a person can buy or consume in the state as long as it comes from an industrial hemp plant.
Maryland CBD Laws
2015 Maryland House Bill 803
In 2015, Maryland lawmakers passed House Bill 803 with a provision that defined industrial hemp as plants with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight. Meanwhile, the law defined marijuana plants as plants with more than 0.3% THC in dry weight(4).
With the new definition, hemp products were removed from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s list of controlled substances in Maryland.
2015 MD HB803 also marked the legalization of planting, growing, harvesting, possession, processing, selling, or purchasing industrial hemp in the state.
However, an individual or a business must secure certification from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) before cultivating and growing hemp.
Lawmakers introduced the bill in February 2015.
2016 Maryland House Bill 443
Following the passage of 2015 MD HB803, Maryland lawmakers called to allow educational institutions to cultivate hemp plants for academic research purposes. In January 2016, Maryland lawmakers introduced the Maryland House Bill 443(5).
The law broadened the legal production and cultivation of hemp plants by legalizing hemp cultivation for research and educational institutions.
The law required researchers to register their agricultural sites with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). The house bill also greenlighted the implementation of MDA-designed regulations to support hemp cultivation for academic research purposes.
2018 Maryland House Bill 698
In 2018, the MDA established the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program under House Bill 698(6).
Under the program, hemp grown in Maryland may be sold, distributed, transported, marketed, and processed inside and outside the state.
The bill also authorized the department to certify and register agricultural sites to grow or cultivate industrial hemp under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The law also allowed MDA to charge a fee of up to $250 for the certification.
The law required hemp producers and growers to maintain records of verification from the MDA. The records should also be accessible during inspections.
2014 Maryland Senate Bill 364
The 2014 Maryland Senate Bill 364 was a bipartisan bill aimed to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana(7).
Under the bill, using or having less than 10 grams of marijuana is a civil offense, not a criminal offense.
With the new law, individuals on the third offense must appear in court and undergo a specified drug education.
The law also requires a court to refer the accused for assessment for substance abuse disorder. The court must also recommend substance abuse treatment if necessary.
2014 Maryland House Bill 881
In 2014, lawmakers passed the Maryland House Bill, legalizing medical marijuana(8).
Medical marijuana patients must secure a written certification from a licensed physician to purchase medical cannabis under the bill. Patients must also register with Maryland’s medical marijuana program.
Patients, children included, must meet their physician’s criteria for treatment before receiving certification and becoming legal patients in Maryland.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene develop regulations for marijuana access in the state.
Individuals, businesses, and organizations must register their cultivation sites with the MDA before they grow and cultivate hemp in the state. The data indicated below are collected from MDA’s website(9).
Hemp growers and producers may register industrial hemp growing sites under the Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. The program also supports the research of industrial hemp in the state.
The program facilitates hemp research in any aspect of cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, processing, transporting, selling, or marketing industrial hemp. The program supports industrial hemp research for agricultural, industrial, or commercial purposes.
Under the program, industrial hemp farmers may sell their crops for profit at the end of the growing season. As of 2020, the state does not limit the acres allowed to grow hemp or the pilot program’s number of applications.
The MDA’s role is limited to facilitating industrial hemp research and registering agricultural sites. It is important to note that the department does not have jurisdiction over the processing, sale, or distribution of hemp.
Buying CBD Legally
It is legal to sell and purchase industrial hemp products in Maryland. However, industrial hemp sellers are required to have a certification from the USDA to conduct their business(10).
Buying medical marijuana also requires a certification from a licensed physician. Medical marijuana patients also have to be registered with Maryland’s medical marijuana program to purchase cannabis legally(11).
How to Choose Which CBD Products to Buy
In Maryland, most CBD brands sell CBD oils, CBD oral drops, CBD for vaping, CBD creams, and CBD edibles.
When looking for high-quality CBD products, CBD buyers must look for the following:
- Third-party lab-tests to ensure quality and safety
- Detailed product labels
- Certificate of analysis (COA)
- Positive product reviews from other users of the product
Reliable CBD brands also have a certification from the US Hemp Authority or accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
The US Hemp Authority awards certification to CBD brands with proper business practices. The BBB accredits businesses and collects consumer reports.
In Maryland, there are three CBD retailers with accreditation from the BBB. As of November 2020, these shops have had no record of customer complaints on the BBB website.
Where to Buy CBD Products Legally
CBD Shops in Baltimore
Smoke Shop 1 in Glen Burnie offers various vapes, e-juices, and glass pipes. The brand also provides hemp-derived CBD products, including oils, liquids, creams, pills, and edibles.
Product reviews show that Smoke Shop 1 has knowledgeable staff eager to help customers find the right product. Reviews also show that the brand has something for all CBD users, whether they are a first-time CBD buyer or a longtime CBD user.
CBD Shops in Annapolis
Vape Loft’s family-owned shop in Edgewater offers drippers, rebuildable dripping atomizers (RDAs), vaporizers and vape accessories, mods, and CBD products.
Vape Loft is open seven days a week from Mondays to Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
CBD Shops in Rockville
Founded in 2014, Vapor Vapor Vapor in Gaithersburg offers various CBD products and vape products from several brand names, including Aspire, SMOK, and Segelei.
Although a prescription is unnecessary when buying CBD products in Maryland, patients have to follow strict regulations when buying medical cannabis.
To legally obtain medical cannabis in Maryland, an individual must first qualify as a patient in need of cannabis treatment.
It is recommended that customers purchase CBD products from reliable brands only. Below are three CBD shops in the state accredited by the BBB:
- Embrace CBD Wellness Center, Glen Burnie
- Embrace CBD Wellness Center, Ellicott City
- CBD Supply Maryland, Baltimore
Customers may also purchase products from CBD online shops and other retailers.
Any Maryland citizen whose healthcare provider recommends medical cannabis as a treatment option for any of the medical conditions listed below may register with the MMCC as a patient(12).
- Wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other severe chronic illnesses and for which other treatments have been ineffective
A registered patient must identify two individuals, 21 years old or older, to serve as their caregivers.
Caregivers must register with the MMCC and purchase identification cards from the Commission.
With a valid MMCC Caregiver ID card, caregivers may purchase medical cannabis on behalf of their patients from licensed dispensaries in the state. With the ID, caregivers may also transport medical cannabis to their designated patients.
Meanwhile, minor patients must have one caregiver with them at all times.
Minor patients may have a maximum of four caregivers. Two of them must be parents or guardians. The other two caregivers must be adults over the age of 21 and must be chosen by a parent or guardian.
How to Register as a Patient
In Maryland, the process of registering as a patient in need of medical cannabis treatment may be completed online.
An online application form must be submitted in one session as the online registration system does not allow applicants to save and complete the process later.
To become a medical cannabis patient in Maryland, applicants must provide the following requirements listed below. All requirements must be dated within 90 days before registration.
- An accessible email account
- Last four digits of the patient’s Social Security number
- An electronic copy of a government ID with a photo
- Proof of residency in Maryland
Applicants may use a driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, military ID, or US passport. If the ID does not contain the applicant’s current address, they must provide two documents from the list below. The two documents must not be from the same agency and must be dated within 90 days before registration.
- Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) registration card
- Utility, telephone, or cable television bill
- Bank account statement
- Proof of home ownership or mortgage statement
- Property tax bill
- Credit card bill
- Residential rental contract
- Car insurance policy
- Federal, state, or local government mail from the state of Maryland
Another requirement is an electronic copy of a recent photograph. The photo must be a clear picture of the patient’s unobscured face and must feature a white or off-white background.
The image file must have a file size of less than 3MB and must not be digitally edited to change the patient’s appearance. Applications may be returned if the photo does not meet the stated guidelines.
Patients in hospice care may also apply to Maryland’s medical marijuana program. They may send a letter from their attending hospice physician instead of a recent photo.
Once the applicant has completed the requirements, they must visit the MMCC Registry website and create an account online.
After completing the application form, a verification email is sent to the applicant’s email account. If the email cannot be verified, the Commission will not review the application.
After the application process, the applicant should receive their username and MMCC Patient ID Number. Applicants may also log into the MMCC Patient Registry to designate their caregivers.
Physicians may need the MMCC patient ID number when they issue a written certification for medical cannabis. Most cannabis dispensaries may also ask for the patient’s MMCC patient ID number when selling medical cannabis.
Patients 18 years old and below must have one caregiver assigned to their accounts at all times. Parents and legal guardians 21 years of age and older are eligible caregivers to minor patients.
Caregivers must first register with the Commission before registering the minor patient, which requires notarized documents.
After receiving certification from an MMCC-registered provider, the patient and the caregiver may visit a licensed dispensary in the state. The patient and their designated caregiver must print a temporary MMCC patient ID card to purchase medical cannabis.
The dispensary agent shall verify the patient’s certification in the Commission’s database through the ID before conducting any transaction.
Patients may only purchase a maximum 30-day supply of medical cannabis at one time.
The certificate becomes null and void if a patient has not used it to buy medical cannabis in the state 120 days after it was issued.
Benefits of CBD
An article published on the website of Concussion Alliance listed the wellness and therapeutic benefits of CBD. Concussion Alliance provides evidence-based information about medical and alternative treatments for concussions.
The article gathered various studies that discovered the health benefits of CBD.
According to a 2012 study, CBD may have neuroprotective properties. The study noted that CBD may reduce the volume of brain damage, the extent of brain damage, and inflammation in the brain(13).
According to a World Health Organization pre-review about CBD, CBD’s purported analgesic effects may help alleviate treatment-resistant neuropathic pain(14).
Meanwhile, another study suggested that CBD may help block biological mechanisms that promote pain in headaches, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, and irritable bowel syndrome(15).
A study also noted that CBD may have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties that may help reduce anxiety and insomnia secondary to PTSD(16).
Results showed that CBD’s regular administration for five months may steadily decrease an individual’s score on the sleep scale and the anxiety scale(17).
Meanwhile, a recent study suggested that CBD may help prevent various movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. The study noted that CBD may be useful in alleviating primary and secondary dystonic movements(18).
Researchers also believe that CBD may help treat mental illnesses. According to a recent study, CBD may play a role in alleviating symptoms of various mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and anxiety(19).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the several phytocannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. CBD is a cannabinoid that usually comes from the indica strain of the cannabis plant.
CBD is non-psychoactive, unlike THC, which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
Most CBD brands offer CBD in the form of tinctures, topicals, gummies, lotions, teas, vape juice, or capsules.
Under federal law and state law, CBD use is legal in the state of Maryland. Medical marijuana is also legal in the state.
Maryland residents may grow or cultivate industrial hemp in the state for research as long as the Maryland Department of Agriculture certifies the agriculture site under its industrial hemp program(20).
Institutions of higher education and individuals associated with higher education institutions are eligible to apply for agricultural site registration.
A patient and their caregivers must be registered with the MMCC to be eligible for the state’s medical marijuana program. Registration and a medical marijuana ID is required to purchase medical marijuana in dispensaries in the state.
- Maryland General Assembly – Legislature. House Bill 803 (2015). Retrieved from https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2015RS/bills/hb/hb0803f.pdf
- LegiScan. MD HB881 | 2014 | Regular Session. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/MD/bill/HB881/2014
- LegiScan. MD SB364 | 2014 | Regular Session. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/MD/bill/SB364/2014
- Maryland General Assembly – Legislature. House Bill 803 (2015). Op cit.
- Maryland General Assembly – Legislature. House Bill 443 (2016). Retrieved from https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2016RS/bills/hb/hb0443f.pdf
- Maryland General Assembly – Legislature. House Bill 698 (2018) Retrieved from https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2018RS/bills/hb/hb0698T.pdf
- LegiScan. MD SB364 | 2014 | Regular Session. Op cit.
- LegiScan. MD HB881 | 2014 | Regular Session. Op cit.
- Maryland Department of Agriculture. Industrial Hemp. 2020 Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. Retrieved from https://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Pages/Industrial-Hemp.aspx
- Maryland General Assembly – Legislature. House Bill 803 (2015). Op cit.
- LegiScan. MD HB881 | 2014 | Regular Session. Op cit.
- Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Patients. Retrieved from https://mmcc.maryland.gov/pages/patients.aspx
- Concussion Alliance. CBD and Cannabis Research. Retrieved from https://www.concussionalliance.org/cbd-research
- WHO. Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report, (2017). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
- Concussion Alliance. Op cit.
- Peres, F., Lima, A., Hallak, J., Crippa, J., Silva, R., & Abilio, V. (2018) Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders? Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9:482. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958190/
- Calapai, G., Mannucci, C., Chinou, I., Cardia, L., Calapai, F., Sorbara, E., Firenzuoli, B., Ricca, V., Gensini, G., & Firenzuoli, F. (2019). Preclinical and Clinical Evidence Supporting Use of Cannabidiol in Psychiatry. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2509129. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6735178/
- MDA. Frequently Asked Questions. Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. Retrieved from https://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Documents/Industrial-Hemp-Program-2020-FAQs.pdf