Navigating the complexities of age verification in the rapidly growing cannabis industry can be daunting, particularly in Maryland, where strict regulations are in place.
Starting July 1, 2023, the world of cannabis dispensing in Maryland got a fresh makeover with new, easy-to-understand laws and rules for those holding cannabis licenses. In this blog post, we'll study the specifics of age-verification guidelines for Maryland Cannabis Dispensaries, emphasizing the importance of confirming the age of the consumer and ensuring adherence to laws for both medical and adult-use consumers.
Age-verification for Adult Consumers and Patients or Caregivers
Before a dispensary can dispense cannabis to adult consumers, it's crucial to verify that the consumer is at least 21 years old. This confirmation is based on a valid government-issued photo identification card. For patients or caregivers, dispensaries need to confirm their status and identity by asking for their Administration-issued patient or caregiver identification number, along with a valid government-issued photo ID.
Acceptable forms of identification include a driver's license or identification card issued by a U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia, a U.S. or foreign passport, a U.S. military identification card, or a tribal card. Note that university or college-issued identification cards are not deemed acceptable.
Implementing advanced ID scanners in your dispensary can streamline the process of verifying the age and identity of your customers, ensuring compliance with Maryland's age-verification guidelines.
Accommodations for Medical Patients and the Shift in Attestation Requirements
With the new regulations, dispensaries must either offer exclusive access to the premises to qualified patients and registered caregivers for at least an hour per day or provide a dedicated service line to serve them throughout operating hours.
The requirement to obtain attestations from qualifying patients or caregivers, which previously asked them to acknowledge their understanding of the legal implications of cannabis use, has been removed. No attestations will be needed for anyone purchasing adult-use cannabis or cannabis products.
Product Reservations and Sales Limits
Dispensaries must maintain an adequate supply of medical cannabis products and reserve high potency products specifically for medical patients. There are also explicit limits on what can be sold to adult consumers and what can be dispensed to qualifying patients and registered caregivers.
Dispensaries are prohibited from dispensing more than the personal use amount of cannabis in a single day. If any individual is attempting to purchase cannabis products for resale or acquiring an amount of cannabis products greater than personal use amounts, a dispensary agent should decline the sale.
Tax Implications and Delivery Rules
The sale of cannabis to adult consumers attracts 9% sales and use tax as per the Tax – General Article, §11-104(K), Annotated Code of Maryland. However, cannabis sales to qualifying patients and caregivers are exempt from this tax.
For delivery services, a standard dispensary licensee or registered delivery service may continue to deliver cannabis to qualifying patients and registered caregivers only up until June 30, 2024.
Embracing Online Sales
Dispensaries are permitted to use an online ordering system for pre-orders for pick-up or delivery. An age-gate is required to verify that the consumer is at least 21 years old or a qualifying patient or registered caregiver. Online payment collection is allowed only after collecting the signature and contact information of the individual.
In conclusion, adhering to age-verification guidelines is not just a legal requirement but also a crucial aspect of responsible business operation in the cannabis industry. These guidelines are designed to ensure that cannabis is dispensed responsibly and only to those who are legally permitted to use it. The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) is committed to assisting licensees in adapting to these changes and ensuring the continued success of Maryland’s medical and adult-use cannabis industry.
You can also discover all the intricate details by reading through Maryland's comprehensive dispensary guidance document provided by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA).