I am interested in a social equity license. What should I do?​

Prospective applicants must first review the social equity criteria [link to criteria] to determine eligibility. While the Office of Social Equity provides guidance to Social Equity applicants, the Office is not the licensing agency. All licenses are administered by the Maryland Cannabis Administration. 

Click here to be linked to the Maryland Cannabis Administration website for additional information on the anticipated timeline for the new adult-use cannabis licensing process. 

How were the disproportionately impacted areas identified?

To identify the geographic areas, the Office of Social Equity (“OSE”) received state cannabis charge and residential address data from the Maryland Judiciary between 2013-2022 which represents the most recent available data. This dataset was analyzed and calculated to create the mean. As defined in the Cannabis Reform Act, OSE identified the geographic areas that had charge counts greater than or equal to 150% of the mean number of cannabis charges. 

Further analysis included a clean-up of the data where out-of-state addresses, addresses identified as correctional facilities, persons listed as unhoused, and missing zip codes were removed. The remaining addresses were verified through the United States Postal System Application Programming Interface (API) in RStudio. Invalid addresses were corrected using the validated code or removed if too little detail was available to validate. Geographic areas were defined as zip codes for ease of interpretation.

I attended a Maryland public school that is no longer in operation but was located in a disproportionately impacted area. Am I eligible to apply?

Individuals that attended a non operational Maryland public school that was located in a disproportionately impacted area as defined by are eligible to apply for a license. An investigative process will take place during the social equity verification process to determine eligibility based on schools that are no longer in operation.

If you believe you attended a Maryland public school located in a disproportionately impacted area and you do not see the school on this list, please reach out through the social equity verification portal.

I’ve lived in several of the disproportionately impacted areas over the last ten years. Am I eligible to apply?  

Yes. Individuals are not required to consecutively live in the same zip code that has been identified as a disproportionately impacted area. Individuals are only required to have lived in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five of the ten years immediately preceding the submission of the application.

How were the Maryland higher education institutions selected for the social equity applicant criteria?

Using data collected from the Maryland Higher Education Commission from Fall 2012 - Fall 2021, the Office of Social Equity identified six institutions where the average enrollment of individuals eligible for a Pell Grant was at least 40% or greater of the total enrollment. These institutions have consistently demonstrated a commitment to service under-resourced communities, as shown by the ten-year average being above 40% Pell Grant eligible students.

I attended the University of Baltimore in 1999. Am I eligible to apply? 

Yes. Prospective applicants who have attended any of the six higher education institutions [link to list] identified by the Office of Social Equity for any two-year period are eligible to apply. 

I live out of state. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. If you believe you lived in, or attended a public school in a disproportionately impacted area outside of Maryland, you will be asked to provide additional data to verify that particular area's status. 

If you lived in one of the Maryland areas identified, attended a public school in Maryland identified, or one of the higher education institutions, you do not need to presently live in Maryland to utilize these existing criteria.  

I heard there was funding for social equity applicants or minority businesses. How do I access this funding?

The Department of Commerce has the authority over the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund (CBAF). Commerce will be announcing subsequent CBAF funding rounds for applicants and application assistance. Please refer to the Commerce website for information or questions regarding funding opportunities.