Where in Maryland are customers buying the most cannabis?

Marylanders have been buying cannabis since it became legal on July 1, 2023, with a sales tax rate of 9%. Following a new report from Comptroller Brooke Lierman, WTOP knows where people are buying it the most.

Central Maryland has the largest number of dispensaries and that’s where the most money from the sales tax on cannabis is coming in, according to a report by the Baltimore Banner.

The region has 50 of the state’s 96 licensed dispensaries and includes Anne Arundel, Howard, Carroll, Harford and Baltimore counties, as well as Baltimore City.

“Maryland interestingly set a pretty low tax rate. And one of the reasons why they did that was to make sure people would buy legally at dispensaries,” Pamela Wood, Maryland politics and government reporter for the Baltimore Banner, told WTOP.

The tax does not apply to Marylanders who hold medical marijuana cards.

According to the new report from Lierman, the state has collected $5.49 million from those areas out of the more than $12 million in cannabis taxes collected statewide from July through September.

Customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties came in second at just over $3 million and with a total of 26 dispensaries. About $1.5 million in taxes came from Western Maryland by the Eastern Shore with $1.27 million and Southern Maryland with $786,000.

It has been estimated that the first year of sales would generate about $36 million, and Maryland is slightly ahead of that estimate after the first three months.

So, where is that money going?

While about half of the cannabis sales tax goes into the general state budget, the other half is distributed between a few different funds that state lawmakers have prioritized.

“A chunk of it will go to investing in communities that have been harmed by the war on drugs — places that had disproportionate arrests for marijuana over the years,” Wood said. “There’s also money being set aside to help small businesses — minority-owned and women-owned businesses — get into this industry.”

Some of the sales tax also goes to local government, plus addiction and health education programs.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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