Recreational Marijuana Has Business Booming At Annapolis Dispensaries

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Maryland is blazing into a new industry: recreational marijuana.

Since legal adult use started on July 1, dispensaries have sold millions of dollars worth of recreational cannabis. Dispensaries previously served only medical patients, but Marylanders voted last fall to allow recreational use, as well.

Dispensaries are scrambling to hire more employees and keep up with recreational demand.

Interested in local real estate?Subscribe to Patch's new newsletter to be the first to know about open houses, new listings and more.

Gold Leaf and Panacea Wellness in Annapolis are among the 95 dispensaries in Maryland and eight in Anne Arundel County trying to capitalize on the new market. Gold Leaf is located at 2029 West St., and Panacea lies at 2061 Generals Highway.

“We are seeing a large influx of new adult-use customers,” Michael Tese, Gold Leaf’s senior vice president of retail, told Patch. “As word spreads, we’re going to continue to see more and more people realizing that it’s legal and coming to the store. … Business has more than doubled.”

Interested in local real estate?Subscribe to Patch's new newsletter to be the first to know about open houses, new listings and more.

Gold Leaf said it saw 700 to 1,200 patients daily during the medical-only era. It now reports about 2,000 sales per day, with new customers making more than half the purchases.

The dispensary’s previous high of 1,800 patients came this April 20, an unofficial holiday known as 420 among marijuana users.

Panacea is still calculating its sales from the first week of recreational use. The dispensary noted, however, that its sales have multiplied since opening last fall.

The dispensary said it had five to 10 times more transactions last month than its first month in October 2022.

All that growth came from medical marijuana only, so Panacea was not overwhelmed by the added recreational market.

Panacea General Manager Chris Harvey said, “the switch hasn’t been that crazy.”

Panacea customers order on tablets, speeding up transactions and freeing up workers. That limits lines compared to dispensaries where an employee, called a budtender, walks customers through the process.

Harvey has noticed the “excitement on the face of the first-time rec patients.” These customers usually have bought marijuana elsewhere, but they’re just eager to have a legal market in their home state.

“The excitement for them is just the fact that it’s here in Maryland, not necessarily that recreational cannabis is now legal,” Harvey said. “Whether it’s med or rec, there’s a lot of states where you can access cannabis.”

Both dispensaries are on a hiring spree.

Gold Leaf opened in April 2019 with eight employees. It grew to 130 workers before recreational use kicked in. The dispensary is now scaling to a staff of 185.

Panacea has been hiring every three weeks. It’s looking to hire 10 to 15 people within a month.

Panacea hopes to fully staff 10 registers, including two dedicated to medical patients.

Gold Leaf said it added 27 registers in the last two weeks, bringing its total to 51. Even with a large lobby and rapid expansion, Gold Leaf customers are still lining up outside.

“We need more space,” Tese said, calling Gold Leaf Maryland’s highest-volume dispensary. “The biggest challenge is finding out where we can fit more registers so that we can handle any more increases in volume.”

The actual cannabis flower is still the most popular product at both dispensaries. Gold Leaf said vape cartridges are its second-most-popular item, followed by edibles.

Demand for low-dose edibles is on the upswing at Panacea. These are foods infused with a smaller amount of marijuana. Harvey said these edibles have been popular among Baby Boomers.

This edible spike hasn’t dethroned flower, however.

“Flower has always been the most popular,” Harvey said. “Another thing to watch is to see how tight the flower supply gets.”

Despite the lines of the first day, many Marylanders aren’t aware that recreational marijuana is legal. Both dispensaries are developing marketing strategies within Maryland’s regulations.

Gold Leaf is planning commercials for TV, Netflix and Hulu. Panacea is meeting with its compliance officer to determine how it will advertise.

Panacea intends to install a street sign soon. The dispensary lies down a long driveway, limiting visibility to passersby.

Both dispensaries are offering discounts to first-time customers. Gold Leaf has 25 percent off the first purchase. Panacea is giving 20 percent off the first visit, 25 percent off the second and 30 percent off the third.

Recreational customer Kenneth Miller visited Gold Leaf for the first time last Wednesday. Miller lives in Washington, D.C. and works in the Annapolis area. He has previously visited dispensaries in the District of Columbia, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2015.

Miller said Gold Leaf’s atmosphere sets it apart from its D.C. counterparts. The staff dressed in black suits and the plant accent wall impressed Miller.

“The environment is so beautiful,” Miller said. “It’s like walking into a Versace store.”

The Maryland Cannabis Administration, the state’s regulatory body, shared early sales data.

Dispensaries recorded $20.9 million in cannabis sales in the first week of recreational legalization. The report didn’t clarify if that total was only from recreational purchases or if medical transactions were also included.

Customers bought nearly $3.6 million worth of recreational marijuana the first day it was legal.

Recreational cannabis is taxed at 9 percent, the same rate as alcohol. The first day of recreational sales generated more than $320,000 in tax revenue for the state.

Some think that’s a worthwhile trade-off for legalization, as 9 percent of Maryland adults were already using marijuana before it was legal.

Shane Doneley, a first-time recreational customer at Panacea, was excited to see cannabis legalized.

“As long as people don’t abuse it, I think it’ll be fine,” Doneley said. “It will do good with the taxes.”


Legal Information

Recreational marijuana is only legal for residents 21 and older. It’s still illegal under federal law, however, so customers cannot take cannabis across state lines. Public marijuana consumption is also illegal.

Marylanders can possess up to 1.5 ounces of flower and 12 grams of concentrated cannabis but not more than 750 milligrams of total THC, which is the active chemical in marijuana.

Each household with somebody 21 or older can grow two recreational plants out of public view. Homes with a registered medical patient can grow an extra two plants.

More safety and legal information is posted at

Patch requested a comment from the Maryland Cannabis Administration spokesperson, but he didn’t respond before publication.

Read More:
Click Here: Inter soccer tracksuit

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

0 thoughts on “Recreational Marijuana Has Business Booming At Annapolis Dispensaries”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *