Maryland to hold social equity lottery this week for cannabis licenses despite lawsuits


The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) announced last week that the lottery drawings for social equity cannabis licenses will be held on Thursday, Mar. 14, 2024. This is the first opportunity for new businesses to get adult-use licenses since legalization last summer. 

The lottery comes after a two and half month delay. It was supposed to be held at the beginning of the year. This first wave of the lottery aims to create opportunities for those disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs to participate in the state’s expanding cannabis industry.

Up to 179 applicants will be selected from a pool of over 1,500 who met the social equity requirements. These applications represent various license types, including standard and micro dispensaries, growers and processors.

“We know businesses are excited to join this growing industry and wish all the qualified social equity applicants good luck in the drawings,” said Maryland Cannabis Administration Director Will Tilburg.

The lottery continues despite a lawsuit challenging social equity and another claiming technical difficulties blocked entry. The lottery will be held live on MCA’s website. Additionally, an independent firm will oversee the process.

The program prioritizes minority- and women-owned businesses. Notably, 84% of the qualifying applications identified as such. “This is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive cannabis industry in Maryland,” Tilburg added.

Following the lottery, selected applicants will undergo a verification process to ensure they meet social equity ownership requirements. Winners will be notified about this next step.

For more information on the social equity program and the lottery, visit the Maryland Cannabis Administration website at


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