ANNAPOLIS, MD — In a powerful address at the annual conference of the Cannabis Regulators Association in Annapolis, Governor Wes Moore emphasized Maryland’s dedication to promoting social equity and restorative justice ahead of the launch of the new adult recreational use cannabis market on July 1. The conference brought together 200 state regulators, advocacy organizations, and industry stakeholders.

Acknowledging the historical injustices perpetuated by cannabis policies, particularly against people of color, Gov. Moore stated, “In the past, cannabis policy has been used as a cudgel to oppress, jail, and discriminate against our fellow citizens… the war on drugs didn’t just fail, it made us weaker as a nation. But now, we are writing a new chapter in the story of cannabis in America, focused on equity and economic growth. It’s time we moved away from this false choice that says we must pick an equitable or growing economy—we can, and we will, do both.”


During the 2023 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Cannabis Reform Act, effectively legalizing adult-use cannabis as of July 1. Governor Moore signed the act into law on May 3, establishing the Office of Social Equity to ensure inclusion, accountability, and fairness for businesses entering and competing in the adult-use cannabis market.

Equity lies at the core of the Cannabis Reform Act and represents a vital pillar of the Moore-Miller administration’s approach to cannabis legalization. To facilitate implementation, the legislature introduced the Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund, which will direct funding to communities most affected by the war on drugs. In the initial licensing round, social equity applicants will have exclusive access. Additionally, the legislature created the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund to support social equity applicants and licensees.

The Cannabis Regulators Association, dedicated to promoting public health, consumer safety, equity, and regulatory certainty for industry participants, is a platform for collaboration and the exchange of best practices. All U.S. states and territories are association members except for Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

Maryland is set to become the 25th state or U.S. territory to legalize adult-use cannabis on July 1, joining many jurisdictions embracing the legalization movement.

For further information on adult recreational cannabis use, please visit

For more details on responsible adult recreational cannabis use.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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