How to Open a Dispensary in Maryland

Opening Dispensaries in Maryland

In 2014, medical cannabis was legalized in the state of Maryland. In 2022, Maryland moved forward to allow for recreational sales. This is set to start in July in 2023. For those looking to start their own dispensary, Maryland is set to soon become a viable option. There is immense potential and BLAZE is here to help!

In this post, we’re covering all the basics you need to know to open a cannabis dispensary in Maryland.


The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission issues medical marijuana licenses in Maryland. Recreational licenses aren’t available currently as recreational-use is not legal. However, when recreational cannabis does become legal, this department will oversee it as well.

To apply for a license you’ll need to fill out all cannabis and business applications. In Maryland, there are four types of licenses:





The application fee for a cannabis grower license in Maryland is $6000. $2000 is due on stage 1, and $4000 is due on stage 2. For dispensaries, the application fee is $5000 ($1000/$4000). Academic medical centers pay a $100 license application fee.

Application fees are one-time costs, but there are also annual and biennial fees due. For growers, there’s a $250,000 biennial licensing fee, a $250,000 biennial grower fee, and another $80,000 biennial fee if they want to dispense. Dispensaries pay an $80,000 biennial licensing fee, and each agent must pay a $200 registration fee. For academic centers, $1000 licensing and renewal fees apply.



How to run a cannabis dispensary is all about location. After your conditional license is approved, you’ll likely have several restrictions on where you can open up shop. These may include:

  • Must be suitable for public access 
  • Layout must be conducive to the safe dispensation of cannabis 
  • Must have adequate size, lighting, power allocation, product handling, and storage 
  • Must have adequate parking and handicapped-accessible entry and exit spaces
  • Cannot be located within 500 feet of another dispensary, school, residential zone, or place of worship. 

Cost of Business Operations

Upfront costs for running a cannabis retail business in Maryland run from $75,000 to $180,000. That includes real estate, equipment, and security. Monthly operating costs will be between $26,000 and $71,000 monthly. These costs may be higher depending on your business size and location. This also does not include the fees associated with licensing.

Operating expenses include:

  • lease: typically runs between $2 and $20,000, 
  • attorney costs: about $3,000 
  • payroll for staff: around $10,000-$15,000
  • Marketing: around $2,000
  • Minimum working capital for $100 revenue/month: between $9,000 and $20,000
  • Other business costs: $2,000-$4,000


Here’s what you should expect to pay your dispensary staff in Maryland:

  • Budtender: $37k annually
  • Floor manager: $63k annually
  • Compliance/inventory manager: $70k annually

Properly trained and paid staff will pay off dividends in running your cannabis dispensary in Maryland. They’ll also play a big role in cannabis dispensary customer retention.


Security for your Dispensary

Regulations require your dispensary business plan to detail how you plan to prevent theft and other crime from occurring in and around your property. This plan must outline safety procedures that protect customers and staff in the event of a break-in, as well as detailed protocols for storing and delivering cannabis products record-keeping and cash. 

Marketing and Promotion

Maryland does allow for dispensaries to market themselves and their products on print, social media, and online. The state does prohibit dispensaries from advertising their marijuana businesses in public transit, within 500 feet of hospitals, recreational centers, schools, and public libraries, and on any public property.

And Finally, Technology

Opening a Dispensary in Maryland

Running a cannabis dispensary in Maryland requires state of the art point of sale technology, and we’ve got you covered there. Blaze handles all your technology needs, with Seed to Sale software, specialized cannabis distribution software, and a sophisticated suite of dispensary POS software to help you manage everything from growing to selling cannabis in Illinois. 


Opening up a dispensary is hard-work, but worth it. The cannabis industry is growing rapidly and cannabis use is on the rise in every adult demographic. States across the country are reporting significant revenue from their growing cannabis industries and Maryland is set to join them. That’s why now is the perfect time to get started. 

Dispensaries that use BLAZE cannabis POS software have a major advantage. Our seed-to-sale software enables vertical integration that can elevate your dispensary to new heights. BLAZE retail software takes the worry out of inventory management and reporting. And powerful integrations make sure you’re covered on all fronts – from cultivation to compliance, and even delivery. Book a demo with BLAZE today if you’d like to open a dispensary in the simplest way possible.

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