DMV’s Cannabis Market Bounces into 2024 with first D.C. license Denial, $1 Billion Maryland Sales, and New Regulator for VA


Catch the Smoke: Dec. 26, 2023

First denial for I-71 gifting store

In the last days of 2023, ABC released the year’s final dispositions on the license applications. Four more businesses were approved including a testing laboratory. But, more significantly the first complete denial of an unlicensed applicant was cemented. LOCAL’D was denied their application and their appeal for an online retail license.

  • Remember ABC board meetings start next Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024.

  • The unlicensed retailer application period ends Mon. Jan. 29.

  • Six new placarded cannabis businesses protest periods were announced. This is the multi month period where the public on neighborhood associations can protest the businesses opening.

  • We updated our Where’s Weed map in D.C. to include 24 pending medical dispensaries and 6 currently open shops.

Maryland did predictability well in 2023

Top cannabis stakeholders said that the launch of the adult-use market in the state raked in the predicted slue of cash. Sales are on track to hit $1.1billion in combined medical and rec sales in the first year of rec legalization.

  • Over 1,700 applications were received by MCA during the first round of new license applications. 1,500 individuals were verified as social equity applicants. There are only 179 licenses available.
  • MCA must begin issuing new licenses as of yesterday.

  • Tax revenue from the first legal quarter of cannabis sales hit $12.2 million.

  • An end of year drug bust saw four people arrested for guns and drugs including over 27lbs of suspected cannabis.

New overseers

Virginia’s medical cannabis program switched yesterday from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. The first will continue to issue licenses to health care providers who can prescribe cannabis, but the CCA will now oversee sales.

  • The republican controlled government continues to block the launch of a recreationally legal market.

East Coast Round Up

New York sold $3.5 million in cannabis products in the first year of legalization despite the markets catastrophic launch.

New York is closing a widely lauded cannabis growers showcase that helped some 300 farmers move product while licenses for retail locations did not open due to governmental snags. Only 40 dispensaries are open statewide leading some to call for an extension of the program.

Maine hit another cannabis sale record in 2023 of almost $200 million.

Around the country

2023 was a promising year for cannabis companies in the traditional market. Darren Weiss of Verano spoke to the WSJ about navigating the web of regulations and prepping for national reform. He basically said big companies are better prepared to weather the continuing storm. Do you agree?

Colorado celebrated a decade since the first legal recreational cannabis sale. However their are still cities in Colorado that do not allow legal cannabis sales. The state has seen over $15 billion in legal cannabis sales since opening.

UFC removed cannabis from the list of banned substances for professional fighters.

An undercover police officer was shot and killed while responding to the burglary of a cannabis business in Oakland, CA.

From the Swamp

The 2024 presidential election forecasts an even more turbulent year for the legal industry with doubts for quick implementation of rescheduling if the federal government can even get the cahoonas to follow through.


A new study found that LSD or ANY psychedelic use increased the odds of patients with alcohol use disorder from being able to reduce their use of alcohol by 89%.

Don’t miss this week

New Year, New Connections!: Spark Events will host a night of connecting with amazing people across the Cannabis industry, making new friends and creating lasting connections at the top of 2024 at The Meeting House, Columbia, MD. (Jan. 11, 6:30-8:30 P.M.; start at $25)

Please submit your upcoming cannabis event here


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