Riding the legislative momentum of a voter-driven mandate, the 2023 Maryland General Assembly arrived Saturday at a policy destination the state has been inching toward for years — establishing rules for recreational cannabis sales.

Should Gov. Wes Moore sign the bill into law, which he is likely to do, Marylanders 21 and older will be able to buy recreational cannabis on July 1.

Voters passed a ballot referendum in November that legalized cannabis in the state’s constitution. And elected officials dutifully carried out their orders, placing the landmark reforms at the top of their legislative list even before the session’s opening day.

The sweeping legislation settled a host of commerce-related decisions — including the number and types of cannabis business licenses and the amount of sales tax businesses must charge — and built a framework for government oversight.

Overall, lawmakers in both chambers aligned to accomplish two main goals — to hit the July 1 deadline to thwart illegal sales and to infuse tax revenues and economic opportunity back into communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition and prosecutions. Each intention has been woven throughout the 100-page bill.

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