The Maryland Department of Commerce announced that applications will open on Aug. 1 for the second round of funding available through the state’s Cannabis Business Assistance Fund. The $40 million in this round of funding will help support social equity licensees who held a stage one pre-approval for a license before Oct. 1, 2022 and are not yet operational by Aug. 1, 2023.

Applicants must provide a detailed description of how the funding will be used, as well as a timeline for when they plan to become operational. In addition, applicants can choose to receive the funding in a grant paid as a lump sum or as a no-interest loan (with a term of five years, with payments starting a year after disbursement and due quarterly). Up to $5 million is available for each awardee. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 1, 2023.

Funding will also be available to train and assist small businesses, including minority and women business owners and entrepreneurs who are seeking to become licensed to participate in the adult-use cannabis industry.

The first round of funding was focused on providing grants to help existing medical-use licensees with the cost of converting their license to an adult-use license. Future rounds of funding will be offered to Historically Black Colleges and Universities for cannabis-related programs, to businesses applying for licenses and to business development organizations, including incubators.

The Fund was created as part of legislation in the 2023 General Assembly session and seeks to increase small business and entrepreneur capacity to participate in Maryland’s adult-use cannabis industry. For more information, visit Questions may be directed to [email protected].