Just this past November, two states made history by decriminalizing marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Now, Maryland could be the next state to legalize the drug if a bill authored by a Baltimore delegate is passed. The delegate introduced the bill into the House of Delegates late last month and it remains to be seen if it will appear before the full House or will make it to the state Senate. If it does, it would not only be legal to use marijuana, but the state would also have a new revenue stream.
The bill not only decriminalizes marijuana, but it also heavily taxes the drug. The excise tax would be equivalent to $50 per ounce of the drug, but the money would be used to fund drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse programs.
If it passes, the bill would limit marijuana to those adults who are 21 years old or older. In addition, it would be highly regulated, like alcohol. It is still somewhat unclear what those regulations would be or under which state department that regulation would fall. What is clear, however, is that possession of marijuana would no longer be a crime.
Until the bill passes, however, even having the smallest amount of marijuana is considered a crime. Anyone who is arrested and charged with marijuana possession could be facing serious charges, including jail time, fines and a permanent criminal record. And, if the bill doesn’t pass, it is important that anyone charged use an experienced criminal defense attorney to get charges dropped or the punishment mitigated.
Source: CBS Baltimore, “Bill Would Legalize Marijuana In Maryland,” Feb. 21, 2013
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