The Maryland Department of Commerce has announced that applications are open for the first round of funding available through the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund. The fund, which will offer both grants and loans, will help increase small business and entrepreneur capacity to participate in Maryland’s adult-use cannabis industry.

The first round of assistance offered through the fund is the Medical Cannabis License Conversion Fee Assistance grant, which will provide grants to help existing medical-use licensees with the cost of converting their license to an adult-use license. Processor and grower licensees are eligible for a grant of up to $50,000 and dispensary licensees are eligible for a grant of up to $25,000.

“The Cannabis Business Assistance Fund will help ensure more equitable footing as our medical cannabis license holders transition to recreational marijuana use in Maryland,” said Gov. Wes Moore. “The fund promotes equitable economic growth and will empower our small, minority and women-owned businesses to have a greater stake in this growing industry.”

Priority will be provided to license owners located in areas that were disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition. To qualify for a Medical Cannabis License Conversion Fee grant, a license holder must:
● Be a small business, defined as an existing license holder with 0-50 employees per license as of May 1, 2023; and
● At least 51% of the business’ owners must have a personal net worth not exceeding $1.7 million.

A second round of applications will open on Aug. 1 and will be focused on ensuring that eligible social equity licensees that received stage one pre-approval before Oct. 1, 2022 have resources available to become operational and participate in the medical and adult-use cannabis industry. Assistance in the form of startup capital and operating expenses will be available as conditional grants or loans.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate that with a requested amount of funding they will become operational within a period of time to be announced. Additional details on the second round of applications will be made available in advance of Aug. 1.

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.
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.
To apply, visit