In the latest in a series of actions to advance marijuana legalization , Maryland lawmakers approved a bill regarding marijuana paraphernalia. This latest bill is a logical addition to last year’s law that decriminalized the possession of certain amounts of marijuana. Now, the possession of marijuana paraphernalia has also been decriminalized. Lawmakers noted that the bill was necessary to resolve a discrepancy; while marijuana possession is now considered a civil offense, paraphernalia possession was still a criminal offense. The approval of the bill by both the Senate and the House of Delegates is likely to be welcome news to those who seek to capitalize on the legalization of marijuana in Rockville by developing a marijuana business. In fact, prospective cannabusiness owners may wish to consult an attorney at law to determine how the bill might affect them.
In addition to decriminalizing the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, the bill fixes another flaw in last year’s bill. It establishes a maximum civil fine of $500 for those who are found to have used marijuana in a public place. In related news, another bill is making its way through the Maryland legislature. This bill would clarify the possession of small amounts of marijuana and it would establish penalties for using marijuana while driving.
The decision to begin a new business is one that should not be undertaken lightly. There are many things to consider such as, “What should I sell?” or “Who are my customers?” and, “How should I deliver my product or service to my customers?” Now consider the additional challenges if you were operating a business in a regulated industry where a federal, state, or local government determines whether you can even operate your business? Or how much of your product you can sell? Or how the services you offer are required to be delivered. These are some of the challenges facing new companies opening in the burgeoning world of Cannabis-related business and services. Before planning your cannabusiness, you should meet with an attorney near Rockville who can help you understand the business of medical marijuana in Maryland.
Although medical cannabis in Maryland is still in its infancy, there is already an astonishing amount of regulations for new Cannabis businesses and their patrons. Once the cultivation centers and dispensaries are operational, all Cannabis-related businesses and services must be in full compliance with existing rules, regulations, and procedures to remain operational. Naturally, a strong relationship with an attorney who is knowledgeable about Cannabis laws, regulations, practices, procedures, and trends will be vital to the long term success of the business.
Despite Maryland’s recent legislation permitting the cultivation and sale of medical Cannabis, it is still possible to run into legal trouble. Unlike other industries, if you are not in compliance with local, state, or federal law, you might be engaging in criminal conduct. As there is so much at stake when beginning a Cannabis business or service, including money, time, and lost opportunity, this is not the time to learn the industry. Rather, this is the time when experienced counsel with experience in all aspects of the Cannabis business will be helpful to guide your decisions and support your business as it grows.
New and prospective business owners operating a Cannabis-related business or service are not immune to the need for capital. Once you or your business receive a license to operate a business in the Cannabis industry, the need for capital will increase as your customer base increases. This need for capital may include a desire for a new location, a need for additional expertise, to hire employees, or to expand facilities. However, unlike most other businesses, you also face the daunting task of paying “sin-taxes” levied by the State, finding a bank that will accept your money, as well as writing off ordinary business expenses due to the federal prohibition on such practice under IRS Code Section 280E.
Attorney Mike Rothman was recently interviewed by NPR for a story about medical cannabis in Washington, DC.
Maryland took a huge step forward with the passing of the medical marijuana program, but there’s still a long way to go towards marijuana legalization. The stage has been set, and now the framework needs to be built to support a marijuana industry in Maryland. For example, the state needs to determine where to grow marijuana and the criteria for applicants. Watch this video from ABC 2 News to learn more about the next steps in regulating marijuana in MD.
If you are getting into the medical marijuana field, work with a marijuana lawyer in Rockville to ensure compliance with Maryland’s medical cannabis laws. An experienced lawyer can keep you up-to-date regarding national guidelines and statewide laws to keep your legal marijuana dispensary open and out of legal trouble.