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Don’t discount the severity of marijuana-related crimes

People here in Maryland are still talking about the state’s new law concerning marijuana decriminalization nearly two months after it officially went into effect. This makes sense given how the issue of marijuana legalization — for recreational and medicinal purposes — has been dominating national headlines in the wake of the recent elections.

To recap, the state’s amended drug crime laws now call for individuals in possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana to be issued a citation and an accompanying $100 fine (with the fine increasing to $250 for a second offense).

While this new law is indeed a dramatic departure, it’s nevertheless important to revisit some important considerations previously discussed on our blog.

  • Officers/troopers uncertain as to weight may still make an arrest and drag a person to the station house to determine if they have 10 grams or less.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (bongs, pipes, rolling papers, etc.) is still considered a crime.
  • Possession of any amount of marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
  • Offending minors (under 21) will be issued a citation and fine, and be required to complete a drug education program.

Furthermore, it’s important for people to understand that this decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana has by no means served to soften the state’s overall stance toward the drug.

Indeed, those caught in possession of larger amounts of marijuana face incredibly severe consequences:

  • Possession of anywhere from 10g-50 lbs of marijuana for personal use is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.
  • Possession of less than 50 lbs of marijuana with intent to distribute is classified as a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.
  • Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in a school vehicle, or in, on, or within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school is classified as a felony punishable by anywhere from 2-5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $40,000.

All of this serves to underscore the importance of contacting a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are under arrest or under investigation for any type of drug crime related to marijuana outside of just simple possession.

Please visit our website to learn more about how we can help.

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